Texas has made an effort to crack down on teachers and coaches who have sex and other inappropriate relationships with their students. Is it enough?
An investigative report from the Austin-American Statesman found that after being investigated for improper relationships with a student, hundreds of Texas primary and secondary teachers lost or surrendered their teaching licenses, but more than half were never criminally charged.
How does the TEA investigate cases of alleged misconduct? What happens to an educator found to have an inappropriate relationship with a student?
So far in 2018, the Texas Education Agency has looked into 417 cases of an improper relationship between a student and an educator. In comparison, the agency conducted 222 investigations in 2016 and 302 in the 2017 fiscal year.
Doug Phillips, director of educator investigations for the TEA, says the rise in cases could be part of a disturbing trend, but the increasing number of reports may also be spurred by the penalties for breaking a new state law.
What were the previous reporting requirements for schools and how does the new law change things?
Why are some school officials silent on issues of sexual misconduct on campus? Are the implications behind student-teacher relationships different for school-aged children and college students?
As technology changes the potential for communication and educational opportunities, how should students and teachers maintain appropriate boundaries online and in person? What can be done on the local level to prevent more cases of misconduct?
- Doug Phillips, director of educator investigations for the Texas Education Agency
- Julie Chang, staff writer for the Austin-American Statesman
- Paul Tapp, managing attorney for the Association of Texas Professional Educators