However, despite the good intentions of the bill’s authors, some lawyers say it is now one the toughest improper relationship laws in the nation.Since that statute was enacted in 2003, it has been a second-degree felony for any employee of any given school district to have sex with any student in that district, regardless of that student’s age.The exceptions are if the student and district employee are married before the sex begins, or if the couple has a pre-existing sexual relationship when the employee was hired by the school district and the younger of the two is seventeen or older.The law’s intent was to insure that students were not coerced into sex-for-grades (or other incentives) by teachers or other district employees.And a good case can be made for certain aspects of the law’s existence via a scandal that broke last month in the Rio Grande Valley town of Donna—a district truant officer stands accused of exchanging absence slips for sex.According to an admittedly unscientific survey by Houston PR firm Drive West Communications, Texas has the most incidents of illegal teacher-student sex of any state in the nation.(Alabama is head of the class for this dishonor on a per capita basis.) Drive West, helmed by Terry Abbott, a former Houston Independent School District press secretary and later U. Department of Education chief of staff, found that were 179 such Texas incidents last year, up 27 percent from three years before.
Pampa arch-conservative Warren Chisum removed the age stiuplation.(A student conceivably could be of legal drinking age and still be “protected” by this law.) Then, in 2011, the law was amended to include students who attended any school in an employee’s district rather than just the schools where the employees worked.Abbott admitted that his survey is based on published media reports rather than official crime data, hence the unscientific nature of the survey.He also admitted that his survey makes no distinction between two different Texas crimes: various degrees of statutory rape and improper relationship between an educator and a student. That means that any person more than three years older than a sixteen-year-old cannot legally have sex with that person (unless they are married.) Such laws are on the books in every state in the nation and just about every country on the planet, and with good reason.improper relationship law on the books.
“I feel differently about seventeen-year-olds than I do about eighteen-year-olds,” Giddings said at the time.
“I don’t necessarily believe the penalty for the two should necessarily be the same.” Her fellow legislators disagreed.