A new study ranks Louisiana third nationally on a per-capita basis for inapproprate teacher-student relationships. Terry Abbott, a former chief of staff at the US Department of Ed and now chair of Drive West Communications, says he found 23 reported cases in 2014 and in many of those situations, social media was used to advance a teacher-student relationship to an inappropriate level.
"39% of the cases involved teachers reaching out on social media to students and having private electronic communications, sometimes in the middle of the night," Abbot said.
Abbott says there's also a higher percentage of inappropriate relationships involving female teachers than the national average.
"It's hard to say what all drives it," Abbott said.
And Abbott says it's disturbing there's already been six reported cases in 2015 in Louisiana. He says school district leaders need to get serious about this problem and so do lawmakers, who can pass legislation to create stronger penalties for offenders.
"We have too many teachers who commit sexual assaults of children and then wind up without any jail time," Abbott said.