A state House committee has passed school safety legislation designed to protect victims of criminal sexual conduct.

The House Law and Justice Committee passed House Bills 5530 and 5531 today, sponsored by Republican State Representative Lana Theis of Brighton Township. The legislative package aims to protect young victims of sexual-based offenses, while helping local school districts better protect their students who are victims of such crimes. The bills would require schools to expel students who are convicted of criminal sexual conduct against another pupil enrolled in the same school district; and prohibit an offender from enrolling in a school building where their victim attends school.

Theis says it’s important to protect students and there should be no safer place than an educational environment; adding events over the last few weeks have shown that. Theis says the bills were voted out of committee near unanimously, with a few exceptions, but they’ve moved a long way to protecting victims of criminal sexual conduct in the state, and it’s important to continue to do that. She says victims should have very heightened protections so they’re doing everything they can to make that happen, saying no child should ever have to worry about entering an educational environment with someone who has attacked them.

The legislation was drafted in response to a local case involving a 16-year-old Brighton Township teen who eventually pleaded guilty to six felonies, including 1st degree criminal sexual conduct. Multiple victims were sexually assaulted by the teen, including one as young as 12. However, since the teen was charged as a juvenile, he was sentenced to only 45 days at a juvenile center.