Texas Senate Moves to End “Passing the Trash”

School administrators who provide cover for teachers involved in inappropriate relationships with students would face criminal charges under legislation passed unanimously by the Texas Senate.

By law, public school superintendents are required to notify the Texas Education Agency if sexual assault allegations are made against a district employee. However, in order to avoid a public relations nightmare or financial liability, administrators often request the employee to resign—a move that allows them to sweep the scandal under the rug.

The problem, known as allowing them to maintain their teaching license and simply go to work in another district. According to TEA officials, such a brazen circumvention of the law prevents accountability and puts Texas children at risk.

Ending “Passing the Trash” has been a priority Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is supporting legislation by State Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R–Houston) that would expand TEA’s investigative authority, broaden reporting requirements, and automatically revoke the credentials of an educator found to be involved in any sex offense.

Debated on the Senate floor Wednesday, SB 7 by Bettencourt was amended by State Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano) to revoke state pensions for offending teachers before passing unanimously.

“Educator misconduct has become a statewide epidemic,” said Bettencourt. “I thank the Texas Senate today for unanimously standing up for Texas students to pass this bill and stamp this problem out!”

The legislation will now go to the Texas House where it will join a number of other priorities collecting dust on House Speaker Joe Straus’ desk.

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Cary Cheshire

Cary Cheshire serves as Vice President of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, the premier project of Empower Texans. A 6th Generation Texan, Cary attended Texas A&M University was active in a number of conservative causes including Ted Cruz's Senate campaign. He has also worked on campaigns to elect conservatives to Congress and the Texas Legislature. Cary enjoys college football, genealogy research, and the occasional craft beer.

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