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Texas Teacher-Student Relationships Trending Upward

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During the 2014-15 school year, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) opened 188 investigations into inappropriate relationships between teachers and their students. Nearing the end of 2016, the number of alleged sexual relationships between Texas students and their teachers seems to be on the rise.

57% Increase in Alleged Incidents

Texas Teacher-Student Relationships Trending Upward

Photo: Pexels

According to the TEA, each year between the ‘09/’10 and ‘15/’16 school calendars, the number of investigations into inappropriate relationships increased, with an overall escalation of 57 percent in the number of alleged incidents over that entire period. A former substitute teacher accused of a sexual relationship with a male student at Justin Kimball High School in Dallas is the most recent of such cases in the news, for which the teacher was arrested December 6th and later released from the Dallas County Jail on a $25,000 bail, according to online records. Her arrest warrant identified that the student referred to her as “wifey” and she to him as “my baby,” according to WFAA 8 ABC.

Fifty-Six Investigations in a 3-Month Span

Texas Teacher-Student Relationships Trending Upward

Photo: Pixabay

The TEA opened 141 investigations in the 2009-10 school year, beginning September 1, 2009. The average annual increase over the course of the next five years was nine cases until a noticeable increase of 34 cases occurred, bringing annual cases from 188 in ‘14/’15 to 222 in ‘15/’16. Among the 188 cases in the former school year, approximately 100 educators were arrested. Between September 1st and November 30th of this year (only a 3-month time span), the TEA’s investigations unit has opened 56 files of inappropriate relationships between teachers and students/minors.

High Profile Cases

Texas Teacher-Student Relationships Trending Upward

Photo: Flickr/Andrew and Hobbes

One of the more high-profile cases occurred in Houston this year, resulting in a guilty plea in November by a former Aldine school district teacher. The 24-year-old was accused of having a long-term sexual relationship with a 13-year-old boy, which resulted in a pregnancy that was terminated by abortion. Because of the plea, she avoided being sent to prison for life in exchange for a maximum 30-year sentence and further agreement to be sentenced by the judge in her case. That sentencing has not yet taken place.

TEA to Texas Legislature: Larger Investigation Budget

Texas Teacher-Student Relationships Trending Upward

Photo: Flickr/Chris Potter

According to a report by the Texas Tribune, the TEA is requesting that the Texas Legislature provide an additional $400,000 to their coffers to hire more investigators for such allegations. The seeming flood of such allegations and subsequent investigations has resulted in some push-back in the meantime. On November 14th, a former high school sports referee filed a federal lawsuit against Montgomery County and three additional individuals over charges leveled against him for an allegedly improper relationship with an 18-year-old male Caney Creek High School student. Those charges were dropped in September, and the outcome of the lawsuit is yet to be determined.


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