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Texas House approves bill on inappropriate student-teacher relationships

Austin, Texas (KETK) - As we reach the end of the Texas Legislative session, the House and Senate are moving closer to a measure they hope will reduce the spiraling number of cases of teachers having romantic or sexual relationships with students.

Monday, the House approved Senate Bill 7, which would penalize superintendents and principals who try to purposely cover up those incidents.

Principals and superintendents who fail to report such crimes could face a state jail felony and a fine of up to $10,000. 

From 2015 to 2016, the Texas Education Agency reported more than 200 cases of alleged inappropriate student teacher relationships.

NOTABLE RECENT EAST TEXAS ALLEGED STUDENT-TEACHER RELATIONSHIP CASES

KYLIE MODISETTE

Former Huntington ISD middle school teacher Kylie Modisette was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations she sent nude photos of herself to a a student. Huntington ISD Superintendent David Flowers confirmed to KETK and FOX 51, he accepted the resignation of Modisette. Modisette was arrested and booked into the Angelina County Jail on a charge of selling/distributing/displaying harmful material to a minor. She was later sentenced to two years probation.

KALLIE BOXELL



A former Tatum ISD teacher, Kallie Boxell, was sentenced to five years probation for having an improper relationship with a student. Online records show Boxell was an eighth grade science teacher for the district. The district accepted the resignation of a teacher after it was revealed she was being investigated for multiple inappropriate relationships with students.

MARY THIGPEN


 
Mary Ainsley Thigpen, a former Lufkin ISD teacher, accepted a plea bargain of 90 days in jail and 10 years deferred probation for having sex with a student. Thigpen resigned from her position when she learned of the allegations and notice of her paid leave. Lufkin ISD stated the former student's name will not be released.

WESLEY LAWLESS



Former Jefferson ISD agriculture teacher, Wesley Lawless, confessed to a having an improper relationship with a student and resigned from her position at the school. Other details surrounding the accusation could not be released. She was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff's Officer.

ANNE HERMAN


Longview Police have confirmed the identity of a former East Texas teacher who is under investigation for a possible improper relationship with a student. Police say Anne Herman, 43, a former math teacher and drill team sponsor at Spring Hill Independent School District, is under investigation. She recently resigned.

When asked about the allegations, the school would only say:

"At Spring Hill ISD the safety and well being of our students and faculty is our number one concern. The employee referenced above is no longer an employee of the district. I am not at liberty to make any further comments at this time."

ZACH MOODY



A teacher and coach with the New Boston Independent School District, Zach Moody, has been arrested for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with a student. He is currently going through the judicial process.

The school released the following statement on Moody's arrest:

"The District will take every step to cooperate with law enforcement and notification will be made to the State Board of Educator Certification. The District has been provided with very little information about the charges at this point in the investigation.  If any parent has a concern about their child, please reach out to the counselor or administrator on your campus to share those concerns.  We strive to maintain a learning environment that is safe and conducive to learning, and will take every measure possible to ensure the safety of students in our District."

HEATHER ROBERTSON

A former Hudson ISD kindergarten teacher was arrested for multiple improper relationships with students. The Lufkin Police Department arrested Heather Robertson, on four warrants for improper relationships between an educator and a student. The Lufkin Daily News reports she admitted to having  sex with four different students, and at one point had sex with two at the same time. She told police she did not “require” the boys to use protection (condom) because she couldn't have children, according to The Lufkin Daily News. She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.


 

 


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