HOUSTON (FOX 26) - We all know it's a problem, so what's being done to stop teachers from victimizing students? Texas State Senator Paul Bettencourt filed Senate Bill 7, an educator misconduct bill because in his words, "We can't have teachers preying on students any longer."
"We can not have this type of relationship between students and teachers ongoing," adds Senator Bettencourt. "It scars the students and the teachers for life."
- An Aldine Independent School District teacher, once pregnant by her 13-year-old student, is now awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty.
- A Cypress-Fairbanks ISD teacher is charged with having an inappropriate relationship with a student.
- A Galveston ISD police officer is facing charges related to inappropriate relationships with students.
These are just the school officials who made news on this week alone.
"Parents out there know this is a problem, one of the worst nightmares they can run into," says Bettencourt. He has introduced Senate Bill 7 to crack down on teachers sexually assaulting students.
"The adults just have to know they can't do it and we're not going to turn our heads anymore," explains Bettencourt.
The bill makes it easier for offending educators to have their teaching certificates revoked and it would penalize school administrators who knowingly hire a teacher with such a history.
"Teachers with these problems get basically moved from one district to the next," adds Bettencourt. "Well, it's time to stop passing the trash and take the trash out."
Under SB 7, school districts would be required to have a written policy on digital communication between teachers and students because Sen. Bettencourt says social media seems to be a tool for predator educators. The bill would also increase subpoena power to the Texas Education Agency because certain school districts in the past have not cooperated with investigations into accused teachers.
According to the TEA, reported cases of teachers sexually preying on students has increased during the 2016-2017 school year by a third compared to the previous academic year.
If it passes, SB 7 could go into effect in September 2017.