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Number Of Teacher/Student Sexual Relationships Increasing In Texas

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The number of sexual relationships between teachers and students continues to rise in Texas and the Texas Education Agency is, in part, blaming social media.

The numbers are  skyrocketing in the Lone Star State. The description isn’t an exaggeration when you consider that last year there were about 150 cases of teachers and students involved in illicit student affairs. TEA spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson says that isn’t the case now. “At the end of fiscal year 2016, last month, we had opened a total of 222 cases.”

Doug Phillips is the Director of Educator Investigations at the TEA and says the digital society we live in is having an impact on how both children and adults act. “I believe that with the technology that’s available now, as far as electronic communications, that it’s making it easier for these relationships to occur,” he said. “We believe that 99-percent of the cases involve some sort of electronic or social media, at the beginning, and that that fosters these relationships.”

Culbertson says the increase of accusations and investigations is pushing some workers at the TEA to the limit, so they’re asking the state legislature for two new investigators and will later press for more power to investigate the history of new hires.

Phillips says the increase in reporting actually reflects well on school districts and the system. “I’m hopeful that it’s also an indicator that we’re getting more reporting of these incidents when they do occur, which is a concern we’ve had and we have that they’re being underreported,” he explained. “I’m hopeful that this is also an indication that the districts are taking it more seriously and reporting them more often.”

The TEA is now working with Region 13 Education Service Center, an Austin-based non-regulatory agency that conducts training and consultation for federal and state programs, to develop training that hopefully will be available to school districts sometime next year.

“We’re really wanting the districts to establish and enforce social media polices, trying to limit the ability for one-on-one communication.” Phillips said. “[It will be] training not only in this realm of the inappropriate relationship but, just kind of educator ethics all around.”

Many districts in North Texas have already instituted policies on social media use between teachers and students.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. Barbara says:

    The sex offender law/registry is unfair and probably unconstitutional. Nothing legally or morally justifies taking away anyone’s constitutional rights, publicly shaming them and their families forever, and making their rehabilitation impossible. But that’s precisely what we have done with the notorious sex offender registry, which now includes nearly 800,000 people. 1 in every 318 Americans is now on the registry. Some are for misdemeanor crimes decades ago. This totally ignores whether an individual has been rehabilitated. It is meant to be a lifelong stigma. If lawmakers really wanted to strike a blow for human rights, they’d repeal the entire sex offender list. Or replace it with a smaller list of only the most potentially dangerous and violent offenders. We can’t lower taxes without eliminating wasteful spending on programs that simply don’t serve the public effectively. It’s often said we need to lock up only those we are afraid of, not those we are mad at. That’s a matter of simple justice, and may apply even more to those who have served their sentences, and who we would, nevertheless, publicly stigmatize. All said, it costs taxpayers millions and makes things less safe because ex-offenders can’t find work or housing, it was an idea not well thought through…

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