Classroom Confidential: Teacher/Student Relationships
POSTED: Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 9:24pm
UPDATED: Sunday, August 28, 2011 - 1:27pm
In 2007, substitute teacher Jennifer Elizabeth Bagley was sentenced to ten years probation for having a sexual relationship with a 15 year old female student, while working at Bullard High School.
That same year-- Center Middle School teacher Janet Parker was sentenced to 10 years probation on numerous charges, including 3 counts of sexual assault of a child.
The child-- 14 years old.
Mineola teacher Joann Stephens is currently in the Wood County Jail, serving 180 days for the crime.
Melissa-Beth Williams was a teacher at a school in Huntington when she allegedly had sex with a 17-year-old boy.
Clark Lewing is accused of having sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was a teacher at Hudson High School.
And the most recent-- former Hudson High School teacher Jesus Alberto Gonzalez turned himself in on charges of having an improper relationship with a 17-year-old student.
He and that student are now married.
It's just a handful of teacher/student relationships we've seen in East Texas.
But not nearly the amount we see statewide.
Lawyer Dan Wyde tells KETK, cases like these are common.
Once a school official is made aware of an improper relationship, they must document it and inform the Texas Education Agency.
So, KETK filed a public information request with the TEA.
We wanted to know, for the calendar year 20-10, exactly how many educators were reported to have sexual relationships with students.
This, under Section 21.12 of the Texas Penal Code, which defines an improper sexual relationship between the two.
According to the TEA, TEA Investigations opened 136 cases against, what they call, "certificate holders" under the case code, between January first and December 31st of 20-10.
Wyde says, prior to 2003, hearing about these types of cases was uncommon.
That's because-- it wasn't a crime, for a student at the age of consent-- 17, and an educator to engage in a sexual relationship.
And, It was actually up to school officials to punish the people involved.
After the penal code was revised in 2003--- it became a second degree felony.
In the case of Mineola teacher Joann Stephens, it would've never gone to court, because she had a consensual relationship with a 17 year old student.
And, she wouldn't be in jail.
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