What Can I Do If I Am a Teacher in Texas Accused of Having a Relationship With a Student?
Texas high school, middle school, and elementary school teachers are in a position of significant power and influence over their students. Teachers sometimes spend more time with children than children spend with their parents and the relationship between teachers and students can provide much-needed structure and authority that helps children in tough situations thrive.
However, when these relationships are not kept strictly platonic, teachers can run into serious trouble. Public and private school teachers are not permitted to have sexual relationships with students, even if the relationship is consensual. Texas law specifically mentions and prohibits these relationships and addresses not only teachers, but also counselors, administrators, and any other school employee. If you are a teacher who has been accused of an improper relationship with one of your students, read on.
Even Consensual Relationships Are Illegal
Teachers are often not much older than their students, especially when their students are seniors in high school. A recent college graduate or teacher’s aide might only be three or four years older than their oldest students, and the temptation to develop a more serious relationship may feel natural and compelling. However, these relationships are almost always illegal—even if the student is not in the teacher’s class, consents to the relationship, and has reached the age of legal consent.
An illegal sexual relationship between a student and his or her teacher is a crime in Texas that carries serious punishments, including up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. In addition to the legal consequences of such a relationship, the social consequences may be equally severe - an arrest for an accusation of a student-teacher relationship often generates widespread news coverage, even if the teacher is eventually exonerated. Getting a job after such an accusation can prove very difficult.
Is There Ever an Acceptable Student-Teacher Relationship?
Defending accusations of an improper student-teacher relationship can be difficult, but it may be possible if the teacher and student were married before any sexual activity began. It may also be legal if the student and teacher had a relationship before the teacher began working at the student’s school or school district and the teacher is no more than three years older than the student. Having a legal team with experience in these complex issues may make the difference between facing harsh sanctions and walking free.
Call a Plano, TX Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer
Even if you believe the accusations against you are completely unfounded, it is essential that you take charges of having a relationship with a student seriously. At The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., our Plano sex crimes defense attorneys defend our clients passionately and without judgment. We work hard to build a vigorous defense and have gotten many of our clients’ charges reduced or dropped completely. Call us at 214-303-9600 anytime to schedule a free case review and see how we can help.