Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law
Senate Bill 7, relating to improper relationships
between educators and students and the reporting of educator misconduct.
Senate Bill 7 was
authored by Sen. Paul Bettencourt and sponsored in the House of Representatives
by Rep. Ken King. Passed by the 85th Texas Legislature, it requires
principals to notify their superintendents if a teacher is terminated or
resigns following allegations of serious misconduct. This requirement will help
ensure cases can be investigated by TEA and that the State Board for Educator
Certification (SBEC) can sanction an educator’s certificate where appropriate.
The legislation increases the penalty for
superintendents who fail to report misconduct to SBEC and provides for the
automatic revocation of the certificates of educators who are required to
register as sex offenders.
Senate Bill 7 also calls for local school
districts to take a more proactive approach to combatting inappropriate
relationships by requiring them to adopt an electronic communication policy to
govern communication between educators and students.
Parents should be confident that our
schools are places of learning and trust for all students. When violations of
that trust occur, there should be consequences. Senate Bill 7 provides the
Texas Education Agency, law enforcement and local school districts with
additional tools to continue our work in combatting educator misconduct.
With the governor’s signature, Senate Bill
7 will take effect on Sept. 1, 2017, coinciding with the start of the 2017-2018
school year.Commissioner Mike Morath
May 25, 2017