House Representative

Alonzo, Roberto R.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/25/2017

REPRESENTATIVE ROBERTO R. ALONZO OF DISTRICT 104 - VOTES TO PROTECT TEXAS CHILDREN IN SCHOOLS

Austin, Texas -- On Thursday morning, Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 7 (Bettencourt-R) into law, strengthening educator misconduct laws in Texas to bring justice to educators who seek to abuse children. “A small number of teachers are tarnishing the image of some of our best and brightest teachers,” Governor Abbott said at the bill signing ceremony. “Unbelievably, some of these teachers against whom these accusations have been made and been proven have faced no real consequences."

SB 7 passed the Senate unanimously in early March and made its way to the House where Representative Alonzo voted in favor of the bill, helping it again pass unanimously. Crucial points in the bill include automatic revocation of teaching certificate if offender receives deferred adjudication for an educator misconduct offense or any offense that would require them to register as a sex offender, expanding reporting requirements to include not only superintendents, but principals as well, with penalties for failing to report, expanding TEA’s investigative authority from intra-district to inter-district relationships, and an educator certificate may be revoked if they assist a person in obtaining employment at a school and they knew that person had engaged in sexual misconduct. House amendments clarified the teacher preparation training, the specific reporting role of principals and superintendents, allows felons to be fired by school districts immediately, and allows for pension revocation.

"Anyone in a position of authority that uses their power to exploit impressionable young people should be punished to the fullest extent of the law," said Rep. Alonzo. "SB 7 helps us protect Texas children and also is a step in the right direction to finally bring abusive educators to justice."