Improper relationships between teachers and students are criminalized under Texas law, regardless of the student’s age. The offense is called improper relationship between an educator and student. Cases of improper teacher-student relationships have dramatically over the past few years. To address this growing problem, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 7 to add new criminal and administrative penalties to crack down on improper educator-student relationships.
UPDATE: SB7 has been passed and signed into law.
Among other provisions, SB7 expands the criminal charges available to prosecutors for improper relationships; automatically revokes teaching licenses for educators convicted of most sex offenses; mandates that principals report teacher misconduct to the Texas Education Agency (TEA); and disqualifies certain offenders from receiving their pensions. The author of the bill, Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, explained the Senate Bill 7’s purpose:
“This behavior of teachers preying on students for sexual relationships will not be tolerated. SB 7 gives the TEA more tools to pursue and investigate these cases to protect the integrity of the teaching profession and, more importantly, protect the students in all of the schools in Texas.”
On May 16, 2017, Senate Bill 7 was passed by both the Texas Senate and House. The bill had unanimous support in both the House and Senate and was sponsored by a total of 78 legislators.
As under the current law against improper relationships with students, it is important to note that SB 7 applies to any employee of a public or private school – not just to teachers. SB 7 took effect on September 1, 2017. The full text of SB 7 can be found here.
If you or a loved one has been charged with an Improper Relationship between an Educator and Student, call us for a confidential and complimentary strategy session.
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