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).

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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.

The list will be available to the public in April, according to the TEA website.

To read more about the registry, click here.