New statewide ‘Do Not Hire Registry’ shows teachers who’ve had inappropriate relationships with students

Schools across the state now have access to a list of teachers who have crossed the line with students in the past. The Texas Education Agency rolled out the ‘Do Not Hire Registry’ this week which serves as a database for employers.

“This has been a problem that’s been around the state of Texas for years, there’s been a problem with adults in the education system preying upon kids," said Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston).

READ: Sex with students: Why more Texas teachers are getting caught

Bettencourt spearheaded this bill which passed in the last session with the help of Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Houston) and Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood).

According to the TEA, the bill requires schools to report certain allegations of misconduct against non-certified employees. Also, it created a registry of individuals who are not eligible for hire in a Texas public school based on misconduct or criminal history.

Bettencourt said this will help prevent educators who’ve had a prior history of crossing the line from shuffling to different school districts.

“It’s called passing the trash, they knew they had a problem with an individual but they let that person resign and just disappear from a school district. So, the educator that had a problem just disappeared and showed up at another school district and generally, there was a pretty good chance that they would have the same problem in the future,” explained Bettencourt.

In 2017 the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 7 which addressed inappropriate teacher student relationships and added more penalties. This piece of legislation, Senate Bill 1256 was amended to Senate Bill 3 and cost about $1.7 million. Bettencourt said the funds weren’t there in 2017 like in 2019.