Texas to investigate wave of teacher-student sex scandals:
Senate probe as number of inappropriate relationships reaches unprecedented seven-year high
The Texas Education Agency reported that there has been a 53 per cent increase in the number of student-teacher relationship investigations over the past seven years.
Texas lawmakers have launched an investigation into how the state should respond to a sharp uptick in reports of inappropriate relationships between teachers and students.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asked the Texas Senate Committee on Education committee earlier this month to review training and education of school employees in regards to proper conduct.
The move came after the Texas Education Agency reported that there has been a 53 per cent increase in the number of student-teacher relationship investigations over the past seven years.
Just last week, Haeli Wey, 28, a former math teacher at Westlake High School in Austin, was arrested on two felony counts for allegedly having multiple sexual encounters with a pair of 17-year-old students, including while on a ministry trip to Africa.
In October, Joel Provencio, 31, former teacher at Jefferson High School in El Paso, was arrested for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old girl.
That same month, Prince Malcolm Kent, 25, a teacher at Hillsboro High School, was arrested on suspicion that he sent X-rated photos to two female students via Snapchat.
In January, ex-Rouse High School teacher Joshua Riggins, 27, was taken into custody for allegedly cuddling and sexually assaulting a female student who was baby-sitting for his family.
David Thompson, a University of Texas at San Antonio professor who has studied and written about Texas teachers' code of ethics, said any text messages sent from a teacher to a student should be automatically forwarded to parents and the teacher's supervisor.
He said social media was helping foster inappropriate relationships since ‘it provides the adult educator with what amounts to unsupervised access to students.’
But Jamie Wilson, superintendent for Denton schools, was quick to remind the committee, ‘I think it's really difficult to legislate appropriate behavior.’
‘We have to put some parameters in place,’ he said, ‘but to think that you can control for every single thing that could ever happen is not real.’