Texas Cracking Down on Teacher-Student Sex

Texas is now a step closer to a major crackdown on the growing epidemic of improper teacher-student relationships.  This week, the state House unanimously passed Senate Bill 7, which allows the state to revoke the teaching certificates of educators who engage in sexual relationships with students.  The bill previously passed the Senate unanimously as well, and now goes back to the Senate for a final vote that's expected next week before heading to the Governor's desk.

Houston Senator Paul Bettencourt (R) is the chief sponsor of the Educator Misconduct Reform Bill.  "I think SB 7 will now put a big stop to this dramatic rise and increase of inappropriate student-teacher relationships," says Bettencourt.  Indeed, state data shows the problem has been getting worse in Texas in recent years.  There was a 65% increase in cases of improper teacher-student relationships across Texas between April 2015 and April 2017.  "Some of these are horrifically bad cases like someone in their 30s having relationships with elementary school children...it's just disgusting," says Bettencourt.

Sen. Bettencourt tells KTRH that SB 7 will empower the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to track offender teachers through a type of registry.  "TEA will have the ability to put together the case files and stop people from moving from one place to the next by pulling their educator certificate, so they won't be licensed to teach anywhere in the state of Texas," he says.  "And if you get a criminal charge, you'll lose your pension and you might even lose the whole pension for whoever your spouse is."

The ultimate goal of this legislation is to prevent teachers who have been caught in improper relationships or incidents with students from simply jumping around to different school districts without consequences.  "The 'passing of the trash' will stop," says Bettencourt.

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