A 27-year-old man lost his job as a teaching assistant at LBJ High School after he was accused of having a relationship with someone identified in court records as a “juvenile female student.”
Stephone Mercer is charged with having an improper relationship between an educator and a student. Mercer was booked into the Travis County Jail, then later posted bail on Tuesday, records show.
LBJ High’s principal wrote to parents last week and told them that a teaching assistant had been fired on Oct. 30 due to being charged with having an inappropriate relationship with a student, but didn’t name the assistant.
The student told police that she met Mercer when she started running track.
“The victim explained how the two of them got to know each other through the rest of her junior year and that she believed the relationship stemmed from Mercer … helping her cope with some things that were going on in her life” and sharing details about his life with her, Mercer’s arrest affidavit says.
According to the affidavit, Mercer admitted to police that he had sex with the student once in his truck.
School officials found out about the relationship from another student, the affidavit says.
The Texas Education Agency opened 302 investigations into improper 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 this session 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.