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Current law prohibits improper relationships between
students and employees of a primary or secondary schools. HB 3769 seeks to
clarify the applicability of the current law, add new reporting requirements,
and hold school administrators accountable.
If this bill passes, the principal of a school district, district of innovation, or open-enrollment charter school campus must notify the superintendent or director of the applicable district not later than the seventh business day after the date of which they learned of an educator’s termination of employment or resignation following an alleged incident of misconduct. This seven-business day time frame to report would also apply from the date of which the principal knew about an educators’ disqualifying criminal record.
In addition, this bill would allow the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) to determine whether to impose an administrative penalty against a principal who fails to provide notification to a superintendent or director in violation of this bill. If a superintendent or director fails to submit the report as outlined in this chapter, the SBEC may impose an administrative penalty of not less than $500 and not more than $10,000; if this administrative penalty is administered the educator’s certification may not be renewed until the penalty is paid.
If this bill passes, failure to file a report would be an offense only if the principal or superintendent intentionally failed to file a report with the intention to conceal an educator’s criminal record or alleged incident of misconduct. If this bill passes, this offense would be punishable as a state jail felony.
Additionally, a person would be subject to the revocation of their occupational certificate and the termination of their employment if they were placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for certain offenses related to sex or violent crimes, and if the victim was under the age of 18 at the time of the offense. A teacher or administrator would be subject to the revocation of their certificate if they assist a person in obtaining employment and if they know that the person has previously engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor.
HB 3769 would also add new continuing education requirements for teachers covering appropriate relationships and communication with students and for principals on how to prevent, recognize, and report prohibited sexual conduct between educators and students. Finally, this bill would require school districts to adopt a written policy governing electronic communication between school employees and students.