SB 7 Summary

  • SB 7 - Improper Relationships Between Educators and Students (2017 regular session)
    Bettencourt

    Expands the prohibition on improper employee and student relationships to any school employee serving in a capacity that requires a license, regardless of whether the employee holds that license. Expands the offense to include any employee engaging in an improper relationship with a student who the employee knows is enrolled in any public or private primary or secondary school, or with any student participant in an educational activity sponsored by a school district or public or private primary or secondary school.

    Maintains the “knew” standard for superintendents regarding an educator’s termination of employment or resignation following an alleged incident of misconduct or an employee’s criminal record. Creates a state jail felony for a superintendent, director, or principal who fails to file a report with the intent to conceal an educator’s criminal record or alleged incident of misconduct.

    Adds a district of innovation, regional education service center, or shared services arrangement to the list of entities required to conduct an investigation. Requires the principal of a school district, district of innovation, or open-enrollment charter school campus to notify the superintendent or director of the school district, district of innovation, or charter school not later than the seventh business day after the date: 1) of an educator’s termination of employment or resignation following an alleged incident of misconduct; or 2) the principal knew about an educator’s criminal record.

    Extends immunity to a principal of a school district, district of innovation, open-enrollment charter school, regional education service center, or shared services agreement that in good faith files a report with SBEC or communicates with another superintendent, director, or principal concerning an educator’s criminal record or alleged incident of misconduct.

    Requires a board of trustees or governing body of a school district, district of innovation, open-enrollment charter school, regional education service center, or shared services agreement to adopt a policy under which notice is provided to the parent or guardian of a student with whom an educator is alleged to have engaged in misconduct.

    Requires an applicant for a position that requires certification to submit a pre-employment affidavit disclosing whether the applicant has ever been charged with, adjudicated for, or convicted of having an inappropriate relationship with a minor.

    Allows SBEC to impose an administrative penalty to superintendents, directors, or principals who fail to provide a report or notice by the due dates in the legislation.

    Requires educator preparation programs to provide information regarding appropriate relationships, boundaries, and communications between educators and students. Requires continuing education programs for principals to prevent, recognize, and report any sexual conduct between an educator and student.
    Allows SBEC to suspend or revoke a certificate held by a person, impose other sanctions against the person, or refuse to issue a certificate to the person if: 1) the person assists another person in obtaining employment at a school district or open-enrollment charter school, other than by the transmission of administrative and personnel files; and 2) the person knew that the other person previously engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor or student in violation of the law.

    Authorizes a school district or open-enrollment charter school to give TEA a document evaluating the performance of a teacher or administrator employed by the district or school for purposes of an investigation. Authorizes the commissioner of education to conduct special accreditation investigations when a school district fails to produce, upon request, evidence or an investigation report relating to an educator who is under investigation by SBEC.

    Requires a school district to adopt a written policy concerning electronic communications between a school employee and student enrolled in the district.

    Prohibits a person from receiving a service retirement annuity from TRS if the person is convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children, an improper relationship between an educator and student, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault.

    Earliest effective date: September 1, 2017