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Senate Bill 7 Passes Texas Senate

March 8, 2017

AUSTIN – Senate Bill 7, authored by Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), passed the Texas Senate by a vote of 31-0 today. The bill cracks down on inappropriate educator-student relationships, by expanding reporting requirements for school administrators, holding superintendents and principals personally liable for failure to report these crimes, and establishing a continuing education program intended to prevent, identify and report inappropriate relationships.

“Instances of inappropriate teacher-student relationships have risen 43% in the last fiscal year as of January 31st, 2017 according to the Texas Education Agency and now Texas leads the nation in these reports,” said Senate Republican Caucus Chair Sen. Paul Bettencourt. “It is time to crack down on these child predators posing as educators. It is time to ensure our children have the safe school environment they deserve.”

“For far too long educators accused of sexual misconduct with a minor have been allowed to resign to avoid potential legal battles and are then able to find employment in other school districts. Senate Bill 7 provides the accountability measures that will end this behavior,” Bettencourt added.

Senator Van Taylor (R-Plano) added an amendment on the floor that would prohibit an educator convicted of an improper relationship with a student from receiving their pension.

“Crimes against children are an incomparable kind of evil. Through this priority legislation Texas must be clear and emphatic: predatory teachers must be reported, thoroughly investigated, and kept far away from our children. These teachers should be removed from the profession and prosecuted — not allowed to quietly slip away to other schools turning otherwise happy and carefree children into new victims,” noted coauthor and Senate Republican Caucus Treasurer Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano).

Senate Bill 7, one of Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s priority items, will now go the Texas House of Representatives for first reading.

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