T.E.A. officials talk guidelines regarding improper relationship - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

T.E.A. officials talk guidelines regarding improper relationships between educators and students

ELECTRA, TX (KAUZ) -

Megan Shed, an elementary teacher charged with an Improper Relationship Between an Educator and a Student has resigned.

The second grade teacher and Bobby Streit, a substitute for the Electra Independent School District, are both accused of having an improper relationship with a 19 year old student.

However, many Texomans questioned the charges due to the male’s age.

Officials from the Texas Education Agency said they have consequences for teachers who have an improper relationship with any student, regardless of their age.

        “The law does not discriminate against age. The law says if you're a student it's illegal for an educator to have a relationship with you that is improper,” said Lauren Callahan, a spokesperson for the T.E.A.

The Texas Penal Code 21.12 states, no matter the age of a student, as long as they attend the same school district, participate in an educational activity that is sponsored by a school district or if the educator provides educational services to those participants an improper relationship is illegal.
Callahan said after the agency is made aware of any incident the educator investigators for the T.E.A. begin looking into the case.
        “What they have the authority to do is sanction the certified educator, which means an educator who has a certificate, most of the employees in your public schools,” said Callahan.
The T.E.A’s investigation does not begin until the criminal proceedings are complete.
But why does age not play a factor in these cases?
        “The safety and security of our students is our first and foremost priority. If our students aren't safe in the classroom they're not going to learn. If they're not learning then we're not doing our jobs as educators or as the education community in the state of Texas,” said Callahan.

Informing teachers about these regulations is up to the district.
Scott Hogue, the superintendent of Electra ISD said this information is presented in the district's employee handbook, and he goes to great lengths to inform his teachers about the education code of ethics every year.
Hogue said he is very disappointed and embarrassed these incidents occurred, adding this is just a stain on a successful school year for Electra.
The T.E.A. reports, in the fiscal year of 2014 to 2015 the agency's educator investigators unit have opened 188 investigations for the charge of an Inappropriate Relationship with a Student or Minor.

If a teacher is found guilty of an Improper Relationship Between an Educator and a Student the T.E.A. will revoke that teacher's certificate.
If convicted of this second degree felony, a teacher can face anywhere from two to 20 years behind bars, up to 10 years of probation or a $10,000 dollar fine.

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