Renewed push for bill to crackdown on inapproriate student-teacher relationships

Lisa Rogers (Blanco ISD Photo)
Lisa Rogers (Blanco ISD Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas lawmakers are renewing their fight to pass a bill that would crackdown on the growing number of teachers accused of inappropriate relationships with students.

This comes as Blanco ISD confirmed that police arrested one of its counselors this week. Lisa Rogers is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student. She has worked for the district as a counselor for 20 years.

Crimes like this are an issue state lawmakers are so concerned about that some of them are backing a bill that would crack down on the growing number teacher-student relationships. Lawmakers are considering House Bill 1403, it is commonly called the “pass the trash” bill. It is currently in committee.

Dripping Springs Representative Jason Isaac wrote it. The bill is designed to strip a convicted teacher of their license, effectively ensuring that they cannot be hired by another school district. Isaac submitted it in February, just as new statewide numbers were coming out on inappropriate relationships between teachers and students.

The Texas Education Agency said inappropriate relationships between teachers and students is at a record high in Texas.

The union said more people are reporting these cases; and, there are more social media apps, allowing teachers to talk in secret with students.

Right now, the state is already on track to break the current record of investigations into teachers who carry on inappropriate relationships with students.

The TEA says:

  • It has opened up nearly 160 cases since the start of this school year
  • By this time in the year, there were 114 cases.
  • It tracked a total of 85 cases in 2015.
  • The record was 222 cases, at the end of 2016.

Currently, the TEA only has a handful of investigators dedicated to probe inappropriate relationships between teachers and students. It is asking lawmakers for $400,000 to hire more investigators over the next two years.

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