GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- The Texas Education Agency says more than 150 cases of teacher-student relationships have been opened in the last fiscal year. Kristen Shanahan spoke with a parent behavioral officials and a local school district today to find out why they all say relationships between students and teachers should be limited.
It is against Texas law for a teacher to have an improper relationship with a student, even if the student is considered an adult. However, even here in Texoma that rule is not always followed.
Former Honey Grove teacher Jordan Lane is behind bars for performing sex acts with a 14-year-old student, and former Atoka coach Casey Hauff has been sentenced to 8 years in prison after victims came forward saying he had offered them better grades in exchange for sexual favors.
"No student under the age of 16, and even as far as I can see under the age of 18 are capable of making those decisions for a sexual relationship," Rhonda Schroeder said.
Counselor Rhonda Schroeder. with TMC Behavioral Center, says even contact that is not sexual between teacher and student can be harmful.
"It could lead the child to reading more into a relationship then there is. It could alienate the child from the other students in the class because then you know it looks like the teacher is playing favoritism," Schroeder said.
One of those reasons is why one Van Alstyne parent says she does not want teachers sending texts or online messages to her kids.
"I would hate for him to interpret a text from at teacher specifically as 'ooo maybe this is something a little different," Cathy Nazarko said.
Van Alstyne schools have policies and procedures in place to keep student-teacher relationships professional. Superintendent Dr. John Spies says staff is not allowed to text students unless it is in a mass, school related text. He also says teachers are not allowed to use the internet for one-on-one communication.
"Teachers cannot use their personal Facebook or other accounts to dialog with students and can't have private chat sessions with them," Dr. Spies said.
He says if teachers break those rules then there could be severe consequences.
"Depending on the situation it could be put on probation, professional write up, and under extreme circumstances they could be terminated from their job," Dr. Spies said.
Dr. Spies says they have not had a teacher break their standards of conduct policy that they revised about a year and a half ago.