Senate Bill 7, focused on improper student-teacher relationship - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Senate Bill 7, focused on improper student-teacher relationships, passes Texas Senate

Senator John Bettencourt of Houston (Source: Official Photo) Senator John Bettencourt of Houston (Source: Official Photo)

Senate Bill 7 is one step closer to becoming Texas law after passing the senate 31-0 on Wednesday. The bill is focused on ending improper teacher-student relationships in the Lone Star State.

This passage follows news we broke Tuesday, about a Frenship ISD teacher who resigned after alleged inappropriate communication with a student.

Senator John Bettencourt of Houston is the author of the bill. He says his goal is to end a trend he says has reached "epidemic proportions".

"A few bad apples need to come out of the barrel, and never go back into the barrel. That's what this bill is...if they're going to cross these bright lines, they're not going to be in the education business any longer, " Bettencourt said.

Senate Bill 7 would expand current reporting requirements to include superintendents and principals. It would also make failure to report a criminal offense, with intentional failing to report a felony.

SB 7 would expand the rules to include improper student relationships and educators regardless if they were in the same school district, or not.

The bill would require school districts to adopt written policies concerning electronic communication between a school employee and a student.

Bettencourt says communication has become a serious problem.

"With the explosion of social media, you've got explosion of contacts between students and educators - and not all of it's good," Bettencourt said.

According to the Texas Education Agency, as of January 31, 2017, instances of inappropriate teacher-student relationships have increased 43 percent in the last fiscal year.

However, Bettencourt says this bill is not only focused on the bad, he says this bill is also aimed at helping those in this profession for good.

"We're increasing training for teacher preparedness, and also doing some training on, what happens if a teacher literally gets propositioned and approached, so that they have the training they need to handle the problem," Bettencourt said.

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