In 2017, teacher-student sex scandals in Texas were more common than in previous years.
Just how widespread are sex scandals involving teachers and students?
According to a San Antonio Express-News report also published in the Houston Chronicle, the number of cases in which a teacher was accused of having an improper relationship with a student increased by 36% in the past fiscal year which, for the state of Texas, was Sept. 1, 2016 through Aug. 31, 2017. This is the seventh consecutive year for such a statistical increase in Texas.
Those numbers come from the Texas Education Agency (TEA), which opened 302 investigations into improper teacher-student relationships in the past fiscal year.
In all, more than 1,500 such investigations have been opened since 2010.
But not everyone is guilty of related charges, and defendants need experienced lawyers to fight for their legal rights and avoid jail time. The Neal Davis Law Firm can provide such help for those living in Harris County, Fort Bend County or Montgomery County.
What does “improper teacher-student relationships” mean?
In short, it means any sexual contact between a teacher and a student.
Whether or not they involve teachers and students, child sex offenses are a serious legal matter. If convicted for various child sex crimes, defendants can go to prison for years and pay hefty fines. Texas state laws and federal laws are especially strict about such things and are getting stricter every year.
For example, earlier this year, Texas legislators introduced several new bills aimed attacking the problem. One was Senate Bill 7, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in May and which took effect on September 1, 2017.
That law aims at transparency among school administrators. It requires principals to report to superintendents if a teacher resigns or is terminated after being accused of an improper relationship with a student. The law also raises the penalty for superintendents who fail to report such misconduct to the TEA, and it automatically revokes teaching certificates for educators who are required to register as sex offenders.
In other words, this law means there is no place to hide for those accused of a sex offense.
Why are improper teacher-student relationships more common today?
The TEA blames social media for some of the increase in teacher-student sex scandals. It points out that in recent years electronic communication such as email, cell phones, text messages, blogging, instant messaging, or other social networking media offers a private way for teachers and students to contact each other after or during school hours.
Sometimes, explicit communication via social media is the only evidence of improper teacher-student relationship, or adult-child relationship in general. And that’s all that is needed. For instance, former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner was sentenced to 21 months in prison for sexting with a minor he never met.
At other times, teachers have been accused of having actual sexual relations with students—a far more serious crime with more severe punishments.
Whatever the case, if you or someone in your family faces a charge or job loss involving alleged improper teacher-student relations, it’s in your best interest to contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer at once. The Neal Davis Law Firm may be able to get your charge reduced or dismissed and will battle for your legal rights.