JUST IN: LBJ High employee fired, charged with improper relationship with student, school officials say

A former teaching assistant at LBJ High School in Northeast Austin is accused of having an improper relationship with a student, and an arrest warrant has been issued for the former employee, the school’s principal said in an email to parents Friday.

The charge is improper relationship with a student, a second-degree felony, Principal Sheila Henry said. Austin school district police issued the warrant this afternoon; the employee was terminated Monday.

“Because this investigation is ongoing, we can provide no further details at this time,” Henry wrote. School officials declined to name the teaching assistant before the court records become public.

Additional counselors will be available for students next week, the email says.

The email was also authored by Principal Stacia Crescenzi with the Liberal Arts and Science Academy and sent to LASA parents, since LASA classes are held inside LBJ High, said Austin school district spokeswoman Cristina Nguyen. The teaching assistant was an LBJ High employee, Nguyen said.

The Texas Education Agency opened 302 investigations into teacher-student relationships over the last school year, a 36 percent increase from the year before. That was the ninth year in a row that the number has increased.

The Legislature passed Senate Bill 7, increasing the penalty against principals and superintendents who fail to report teacher misconduct. Superintendents and principals, who previously faced loss of their professional license for failing to report teacher misconduct, now could be fined $10,000 and jailed for up to two years. The law took effect Sept. 1.

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