Texas Ranks No. 1 in Inappropriate Student-Teacher Relationships

By: Tiffany Craig, KHOU 11 News/ Rebecca Lopez, WFAA Channel 8 Dallas Email
By: Tiffany Craig, KHOU 11 News/ Rebecca Lopez, WFAA Channel 8 Dallas Email

SPRING -- Another case of a student and teacher having an inappropriate relationship has been reported in the Houston area.
Kathanna Culp, 28, is accused of having sex with a student in the Spring Branch ISD and of hosting pot parties for teens.

Terry Abbott, who was chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Education under President George W. Bush, calls these types of relationships an epidemic, and says school districts need to do more to stop it.

Abbott decided to start keeping track of the media accounts of these types of cases, and what he found since January 1 is more than 200 cases nationwide. That's nearly two every week.

"That tells us that we have an epidemic, and we've got to deal with it aggressively," he said.

Texas leads the way in these types of cases. There have been 26 since the beginning of the year.

Abbott said a majority of the incidents start with students and teachers texting one another or sending Facebook messages. He wants districts to ban this type of communication.

"Stop teachers from texting with kids, and stop teachers from interacting with kids on Facebook, because that leads to serious problems," he said.

One of the highest profile cases last year involved English teacher Brittni Colleps from Arlington, who was convicted of having sex with five students. That all started with text messages.

To this day, Colleps says she sees nothing wrong with what happened. "Are they victims? Not in my opinion."

Abbott said school districts need to do better screenings when hiring teachers like Colleps, and he suggests that parents check their child's social media sites and text messages often.

He says action needs to be taken now.

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