New laws tighten up on inappropriate relationships with students

The legislature has passed SB 7 in an effort to further tighten up on educators who cross that invisible boundary line with students.  Key provisions:

1. It makes it a criminal offense for an educator to have sexual contact with a student enrolled in any K-12 school, public or private. Previous law applied this standard only to kids in the school where the employee worked;

2. It requires principals to promptly report to the superintendent when an educator is terminated, or resigns in the face of evidence of misconduct; the superintendent must promptly turn over any such report to SBEC;

3. It provides for immunity from liability for administrators who make these reports in good faith, or communicate with other administrators while acting in the scope of employment;

4. SBEC may impose an “administrative penalty” for failure to report when required to do so; these penalties can run from $500 to $10,000;

5. It makes it a state jail felony to fail to report when required to do so, if this is done with an intent to conceal the information;

6. Districts must adopt a policy calling for notice to parents of students “with whom an educator is alleged to have engaged in misconduct”; this must be done “as soon as feasible after the employing entity becomes aware that alleged misconduct may have occurred”;

7. Applicants for jobs will be required to sign an affidavit, developed by TEA, stating that they have never been “charged with, adjudicated for, or convicted of having an inappropriate relationship with a minor”;

8. SBEC may revoke the certificate of a person who assists another person in obtaining employment when the person knows that the job applicant “has previously engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor or student in violation of the law;”

9. Amends the Public Information Act to permit schools to share teacher evaluations with TEA when TEA is conducting an investigation; and

10. Requires schools to adopt policies about e-communication with students, including via social media.

We will be discussing this important new law in detail in my Back to School tour this fall. Go to for dates and locations for the BTS tour!

And speaking of great opportunities…..

TASB will host its annual Summer Leadership Institute in San Antonio on June 15 to 17. We are pleased to have several of our attorneys presenting to board members and superintendents at this conference.

*On June 16 @ 9:30 am, Craig Wood and Joey Moore will present “Being Proactive, not Reactive – Practical Tips for High Profile Investigations.”

**On June 16 @ 11:15 am, Melanie Charleston and Katie Payne will present “Don’t Go Down in Flames – Navigating District Social Media: Forum, Free Speech, Privacy & Retention.”

***And don’t forget to make a stop at our table during the conference; we hope to see you there!


 Tomorrow: Don’t even think about boycotting Israel.