Del. Legislation Seeks To Better Protect Students From Sexual Predators

New Delaware legislation seeks to better protect school students from sexual predators.
The measure is an expansion of an existing law that requires all publicly funded schools to train employees and educate students about personal safety, sexual abuse, an dhow to maintain appropriate interactions between children and volunteers.

“Our communities rightfully expect the schools of this state to be sanctuaries where their children can learn and grow, safe from some of the most vile horrors that the world has to offer,” State Senator Nicole Poore, D-New Castle said. “We can and we must do more to protect our children by preventing predators in sheep’s clothing from being placed in positions of trust and making sure our school communities are able to intervene before it’s too late. The legislation I am putting forward today will help do that by making the distinction between appropriate and inappropriate relationships between children and educators crystal clear.” 

Senate Bill 290 would specifically require prevention-focused training for staff and student education to include discussion about ‘grooming,’ defined as “acts by adults to build trust and access to children for the purpose of engaging in sexual contact.”

“Some far-right extremists have used moral panic over grooming as a weapon to attack members of the LGBT+ community through homophobic and transphobic legislation,” Poore added. “That is not what this is. In fact, those conspiracies are doing real harm by distracting from the very real threat posed by people who take very methodical actions to build relationships of trust that they can eventually abuse. I believe we can protect our children from grooming without being duped by politically motivated and hateful rhetoric.” 

Other requirements and policies are also proposed, and information shared with school staff would also be available to parents and guardians.

Another proposed bill, SB 289, would expand Delaware’s sexual extortion law to include threats that involve persuading someone to share images or photos of a sexual nature or threatening to share such images.

“Sadly, law enforcement has seen a dramatic increase in the number of adults, predators, threatening and coercing children and teens into sending explicit images to them. This abuse is called “sextortion” and most often it doesn’t end with sending a photo,” State Representative Krista Griffith, D-Brandywine Hundred said. “Once these pictures are sent there is no way to get them back and it turns into a terrifying situation for children and their families. The predator will manipulate the child into sending more images, making the child feel trapped. I believe this addition to Delaware’s sexual extortion law will help children and their families, allowing them to come forward and obtain the protection they need. I am proud to sponsor this bill with Sen. Poore.”