ECISD Implements New Training To Prevent More Improper Student-Teacher Relationships

ECISD Implements New Training To Prevent More Improper Student-Teacher Relationships

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

ECTOR COUNTY - Odessa teachers are getting a lesson on where to draw the line with students.

That's after several cases where teachers were caught after having an improper relationship with a student.

Ector County I.S.D. Superintendent Tom Crowe said it's unfortunate but it's reality.

"Today on the front page of the newspaper, one of our former teachers has been indicted by the grand jury for an improper relationship," Crowe said. "We currently have one former teacher serving a 20-year prison term for improper relationship."

Over the course of 18 months, the school district launched several investigations into improper relationships with students at Permian High School.

Three educators were eventually arrested and a fourth committed suicide amid the allegations.

"We've got to keep it at the forefront because we cannot have a year like last year or the year before that," Crowe said.

On Thursday, more than 250 new teachers attended new training on this topic. The district brought in an expert from the University of Texas of San Antonio to talk about social media and teacher ethics.

"As you know, we have a lot of young teachers who have grown up with social media and we all know social media can get you in trouble," Crowe said.

The stories happen more often than you might think.

The Texas Education Agency currently has over 900 active cases of improper student-teacher relationships.

"It impacts every one of us," Crowe said. "We've got to understand that the community needs to be able to trust us with their children."

New teachers NewsWest 9 spoke with agreed.

"I wanna be comfortable. I don't want parents to think I'm a predator or something," first-year teacher, Yesenia Gonzalez, said.

"To know they are handling it and making sure that this won't happen again as much as they can prevent it, it's a great feeling to know I'm in a safe community," first-year teacher, Mallory Wersonske, said.

Training won't just be at the beginning of the school year.

Now, teachers are required to participate in sexual harassment training four times throughout the year. The district will also have discussions with students but Crowe said it's still on the adult.

"The thing we always have to remember, no matter what with the student, we're still the adult and the adult has to be the one to draw the line," he said.