AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — State officials say the number of Texas teachers accused of engaging in romantic relationships with students has increased for the 10th consecutive year.
The Texas Education Agency in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 1 opened 429 cases of improper relationships, a number representing a 42 percent increase from the previous year and the largest one-year jump in at least a decade.
Garland police arrested a Dallas ISD teacher in April 2018 for an improper relationship with a student.
Robert Lee Edgin, 49, was a teacher at W.T. White High School.
According to police, Edgin’s victim was a 17-year-old Garland ISD student.
Investigators said the theater teacher met the teenager onlin.
“Right now we have students who they’re talking to somebody their age, or they think, ‘Oh, it’s okay.’ But it’s our job to educate them about the dangers that are out there,” said Alberto Irizarry with the Garland Police Department.
Doug Phillips, head of teacher investigations for TEA, told a legislative panel Tuesday that the significant increase is largely due to a new state law that expands the requirements for who must report misconduct.
The Austin American-Statesman reports the law also requires school districts to set policies for students and teachers when it comes to texting, emailing and using social media and other electronic communication.