New Law Targets Teachers Who Fail to Report Inappropriate Relationships with StudentsPublished: Oct 10, 2017 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes
The number of inappropriate sexual relationships between students and teachers has increased within Texas in recent years. In 2016, the Texas Education Agency opened 222 investigations into these inappropriate relationships. Frustrated with battling this criminal conduct, Texas legislators decided to take a decisive step. Senate Bill 7, which was signed into law in May of 2017, states that educators who fail to speak up about any inappropriate relationship they are aware of are subject to criminal charges. Teachers, principals, superintendents, and other educational professionals who are accused of misconduct or doing too little report said misconduct will need to work with an experienced Houston child sex abuse lawyer at The Law Offices of Ned Barnett to avoid harsh consequences.
New Law Further Punishes Teachers Found in Inappropriate Relationships
The new law, which amends parts of the Texas Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedures, and the Education Code, went into effect on September 1, and has a number of consequences. First, it makes it harder for teachers and other educational professionals who are caught in inappropriate relationships with students to avoid punishment. Since the law went into effect, an educational professional can be charged with the having an inappropriate relationship with a student no matter what district a student attends. The student does not have to attend the school where the educator works.
If teachers are ordered to register as a sex offenders or receive deferred adjudication, then they will have their certificates and licenses revoked. Additionally, a teacher who is convicted of an improper relationship with a student, sexual assault, or continuous sexual abuse of a child will have their pensions revoked.
New Law Penalizes Educators Who Fail to Report Inappropriate Relationships
Under Senate Bill 7, principals, superintendents, and certain directors are now required to report information regarding inappropriate relationships. If law enforcement officers have evidence that a principal or superintendent failed to report an inappropriate relationship and there is evidence they intended to hide the educator’s misconduct, then they can be charged with a state jail felony. This is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 . If evidence is found that a superintendent intended to hide a teacher or fellow administrator’s misconduct, they also face a state jail felony charge.
If an educator serving as a superintendent or educational director fails to properly report known misconduct, then the State Board for Educator Certification may fine the educator between $500 and $10,000, while also choosing to not renew that educator’s certification until the penalty is paid.
Are You an Educator Who Needs Legal Representation?
The potential consequences of an inappropriate student-teacher relationship can be harsh. In an effort to fight a growing problem, legislators have passed harsh penalties to other educators they want to be held responsible. If you are an educator who is accused of not properly reporting your knowledge of an inappropriate student-teacher relationship, then contact the experienced and trusted criminal defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Ned Barnett right away.
Attorney Ned Barnett understands how frustrating it is to have your livelihood on the line when you were not part of misconduct. He will thoroughly review your situation and determine the strongest defense for your case. The Law Offices of Ned Barnett will obtain the best possible outcome, including the continuation and renewal of your professional certifications.
To learn more about how Ned Barnett can help, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 to schedule a free and initial consultation.