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Androvett Blog

by Robert Tharp at 11:09:55 am

Top Texas Laws of 2011 Countdown: Criminal background checks for driver's ed teachers

At No. 7 on the Androvett Legal Media countdown of the top new Texas laws for 2011, HB2678 requires that driver’s education teachers in Texas undergo a criminal background check before they’re allowed to teach. HB2678 marks a continuation of efforts to crackdown on improper teacher-student relationships. In 2003, Texas legislators made it felony for a teacher to have sex with a student, regardless of the student’s age or consent.

Chuck Noteboom, whose practice includes filing civil lawsuits against sex offenders, says the law may have the best intentions, but a larger problem is the state’s statute of limitations for reporting such offenses. “This amounts to a Band-Aid on an amputation,” Noteboom says. “If they really want to protect people, they should eliminate Texas’ statute of limitations on sexual assault charges, because 80 percent of all rapes go unreported, mostly due to shame and repressed memories. A recent Dallas Morning News report found at least 19 reports of sexual relationships between teachers and students in North Texas since January 2010. Such relationships are a second-degree felony, regardless of the student’s age or whether the sex was consensual. The penalty ranges from two to 20 years in prison.