Governor Signs Bill for Inappropriate Teacher – Student Relationships
Governor Greg Abbott today signed Senate Bill 7 (SB 7), which aims to crack down on inappropriate teacher-student relationships in Texas.
The law ensures that teachers who engage in an inappropriate relationship with a student will lose their teaching certification/license and their taxpayer pension, and punishes administrators, superintendents and principals who turn a blind-eye to such misconduct. The bill also requires school districts to adopt a written policy to prevent improper electronic communications between school employees and a student.
"Texas schools should be safe places for our children to learn and advance," said Governor Abbott. "Texas schools are filled with some of the best teachers in the country, but unfortunately a small number of them have abused their position, and as a parent I find this abuse of trust abhorrent. This type of behavior is unacceptable, and Texas will protect its children from sexual predators in our classrooms. I would like to thank the legislature for their work and dedication on this important law."
The increased penalties could include:
- Automatic termination and revocation of a teaching certificate for teachers that engage in improper relationships with students.
- Fines up to $10,000 on any superintendent or principal who neglect to report an improper relationship within 7 business days of discovering it.
- Jail time for principals or superintendents who intentionally conceal an improper relationship.
- Suspension, revocation, or denial of the certification of educators who assist an unscrupulous teacher in obtaining a job at another school.
- Suspension and annulment of an educator’s retirement annuity for educators convicted of having an an improper relationship with a student.
SB 7 passed in the legislature with broad bipartisan support and will take effect on September 1, 2017.