What is improper educator student relationship in Texas?
The Texas Education Agency reports that allegations of improper teacher student relationships also known as improper educator student relationships are on the rise. For example, in 2015 the Texas Education Agency investigated 188 improper relationships. In the simplest terms, Texas law prohibits a teacher from having sexual contact with a student. More specifically, Penal Code Section 21.12 (a) prohibits an employee of a public or private primary or secondary school from having sexual contact with a student. Notice that this offense can be charged against any employee, from a janitor to a superintendent.
What is Sexual Contact?
“Sexual contact” means any touching of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.
Improper Educator Student Charges in the Media
These offenses are taken seriously by prosecutors because they garner a great deal of public attention. Individuals accused of offenses are generally fired or suspended indefinitely. There may be collateral CPS investigations. It is important that you immediately contact an attorney if you have reason to believe you are under investigation, or certainly if you have been arrested. Call us at (817) 203-2220.
Will I have to register as a sex offender?
Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student is presently not one of the offenses for which registration is required in Texas at this time. However, attempts have been made to change this. Be sure to check with your attorney to find out when the last time Code of Criminal Procedure 62.001 was amended.
What is the punishment for Improper Relationship?
Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student is a second degree felony in Texas. The punishment range is 2-20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Are there affirmative defenses to Improper Relationship?
Penal Code 21.12 (b-1) provides the following affirmative defenses:
- The student and teacher were married at the time;
- The teacher was not more than three years older than the student and they had a relationship that began before the teacher’s employment at the school.
Sec. 21.12. IMPROPER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EDUCATOR AND STUDENT
(a) An employee of a public or private primary or secondary school commits an offense if the employee:
(1) engages in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with a person who is enrolled in a public or private primary or secondary school at which the employee works;
(2) holds a certificate or permit issued as provided by Subchapter B, Chapter 21, Education Code, or is a person who is required to be licensed by a state agency as provided by Section 21.003(b), Education Code, and engages in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with a person the employee knows is:
(A) enrolled in a public primary or secondary school in the same school district as the school at which the employee works; or
(B) a student participant in an educational activity that is sponsored by a school district or a public or private primary or secondary school, if:
(i) students enrolled in a public or private primary or secondary school are the primary participants in the activity; and
(ii) the employee provides education services to those participants; or
(3) engages in conduct described by Section 33.021, with a person described by Subdivision (1), or a person the employee knows is a person described by Subdivision (2)(A) or (B), regardless of the age of that person.
(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the second degree.
(b-1) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that:
(1) the actor was the spouse of the enrolled person at the time of the offense; or
(2) the actor was not more than three years older than the enrolled person and, at the time of the offense, the actor and the enrolled person were in a relationship that began before the actor’s employment at a public or private primary or secondary school.
(c) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or both sections.
(d) The name of a person who is enrolled in a public or private primary or secondary school and involved in an improper relationship with an educator as provided by Subsection (a) may not be released to the public and is not public information under Chapter 552, Government Code.