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April 29 2012

Outstanding Houston-Area Teacher Accused of Inappropriate Texts with Students

Paul RobertsA Stafford Middle School teacher in Stafford, TX was arrested this past week over accusations he had inappropriate communications with students.

Paul Roberts, 53, was arrested this past week for accusations of sending inappropriate texts and social networking messages to two students at the school.  He has also been charged with an improper relationship with a student, a second-degree felony in Texas, but there is no word on what that may have entailed.

In a letter to parents at the school issued last Wednesday, SMSD Superintendent Lance Hindt said:

After a thorough investigation, it has been determined that the teacher did engage in inappropriate conduct as outlined by district policy.

[…]

There have been unsubstantiated reports that this inappropriate conduct may have involved additional students, however, I want to assure you that we will continue to investigate these reports.

According to the Houston Chronicle blog, Roberts began teaching at the school last year and was named “Teacher of the Year,” he also won a Crystal Award in 2011 which recognizes outstanding teachers who go “beyond the norm.”

Roberts has been relieved of his math teaching duties at the school and has been released from the Fort Bend country jail on a $7,500 bond.

While the evidence has not been provided to the public, it sounds like it is fairly solid.  This does make me wonder if social media contact between teachers and students should just be banned outright.  While I am all for teachers being mentors to their students as well as their educators, it seems that we are seeing social networks and texting popping up in these cases more and more.  There has been contact amongst teachers and students outside of school for as long as there has been phones, but for some reason these two forms of communication seem to be the ones abused the most.

[thanks to Jo for the tip]



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