Teacher’s unions in Texas are apparently unhappy with a bill in the state legislature that would force teachers to self-disclose prior relationships with students and could lesson the rate of students being sexually abused by teachers, because they say it could cause a lot of innocent teachers to lose their jobs, especially if they get falsely accused.
The bill, House Bill 218 was introduced by a state Republican representative whose goal it was to reduce what he says is an increasing trend in schools.
However, education advocacy groups have reacted with ALARM. They say that the bill will force teachers to disclose accusations even if they turned out to be false – thusly preventing themselves from ever being hired anywhere else.
“Those falsely accused teachers could face some serious harm to their employment prospects,” Mark Wiggins, a lobbyist with the Association of Texas Professional Educators, told the Statesman.
The Daily Caller states:
The Texas branch of the American Federation of Teachers and the Texas State Teachers Association have expressed similar concerns about House Bill 218.
Dale’s bill is designed to allow teachers to indicate whether the allegations against them are true or false after explaining the allegations. However, failure to report allegations could become grounds for termination.
The fear among teachers, obviously, is that self-reported allegations will become a good a reason not to hire a teacher in the first place.
In his presentation to the Texas House subcommittee, Dale explained that his goal is to prevent teachers from discreetly changing jobs after having an improper sexual relationship with a student.
Dale cited six such cases in central Texas and an extensive review of impropriety conducted earlier this year by the Statesman.
That review concluded that school district officials — and, obviously, the teachers themselves — across Texas sweep affairs between teachers and students under the rug.
In addition to requiring that teachers report allegations against themselves, Dale’s bill would also allow force school districts to inform parents when their child is the subject of teacher-sex allegations, make it a crime for teachers to engage in sexual activity with students who attend other schools and require schools to create policies concerning electronic communications between teachers and students.
The bill would also revoke the teaching licenses of teachers who end up on sex offender registries and also revoke the licenses of school administrators who assist teachers with finding other jobs once they have engaged in sexual relations with students.
“It’s time that we fully address this issue and make sure that educators who have inappropriate relationships with students are not allowed to teach again,” Dale said, according to the Statesman.
The Statesman’s review of teacher-sex incidents found 686 teachers who lost their teaching licenses because of allegations of such incidents in the Lone Star State between Jan. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2016.