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Senate passes bill on inappropriate teacher-student relationships

School administrators who do not report incidents of inappropriate relationships between teachers and students would face criminal charges under Senate Bill 7, which passed unanimously Wednesday in the Texas Senate.

The Texas Tribune reports, “Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, said he introduced Senate Bill 7 in response to an uptick of cases in the past eight years where Texas elementary, middle and high school teachers were found in romantic and sexual relationships with their students. In fiscal year 2016, the Texas Education Agency opened 222 investigations that involved inappropriate relationships.”

SB7, which is one of several proposals addressing teacher-student sexual and romantic relationships, would also require “training for teachers about proper relationships with students and gives the state power to yank pension benefits from educators convicted of a felony regarding inappropriate student-teacher misconduct,” the Houston Chronicle reports.

Failure by superintendents and principals to report teacher misconduct could lead to a Class A misdemeanor under SB 7, and intentionally not reporting misconduct could result in a state jail felony.

SB 7 will next be considered by a House committee.

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