Despite state laws aimed at preventing predatory teachers from compromising students’ safety by continuing to work as educators, evidence shows that loopholes and lax enforcement still allow Texas schools to “pass the trash.”

In 2017, Texas lawmakers enacted stiffer penalties against school administrators who fail to report educators’ sexual misconduct and thereby enable those teachers to get jobs at other schools—a process known as passing the trash.

The law was further strengthened in 2019 with the creation of the Do Not Hire Registry, a list of individuals who are not eligible for hire in Texas public schools based on misconduct or criminal history.

But an analysis of the state’s educator misconduct reporting system, released earlier this month by government watchdog group Citizens Defending Freedom (CDF), shows misbehaving educators still slip through the cracks and continue working with students.

Athletic trainer Javier Errisuriz is one example.

Errisuriz was fired from Pilot Point Independent School District last November after district police investigated allegations of “gross misconduct” involving a 17-year-old student.

He was arrested soon after and charged with child grooming, a second-degree felony.

Errisuriz began working for Pilot Point ISD in July 2023. Before that, he was employed at Canyon Lake High School in Comal ISD from August 2020 until March 2023.

Prior to that time, he worked at Keller High School in Keller ISD. That’s where he was accused of engaging in “improper communications with students.”

In June 2019, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) notified Errisuriz that he was under investigation for allegations received by the State Board for Educator Certification. In October 2019, SBEC placed an “inscribed reprimand” on his teaching certificate.

An inscribed reprimand is a “formal, published censure” issued by the board. However, it “does not affect the validity of an educator’s certificate” and does not result in the educator being added to the Do Not Hire Registry.

Both Comal ISD and Pilot Point ISD hired Errisuriz despite the reprimand he received in 2019, which was noted on his teaching certificate.

A week after Errisuriz was arrested, Pilot Point ISD Superintendent Todd Southard resigned.

Texas Scorecard contacted the Pilot Point ISD Police Department for an update on the charge against Errisuriz but has not received a response. SBEC records show Errisuriz is again under investigation by the TEA, but his teaching certificate remains valid and he is not on the Do Not Hire Registry.

CDF’s report “Are Your Children Safe in Texas Schools?” highlights this problem with the educator misconduct reporting system as administered by the TEA.

The report notes that the TEA routinely imposes lesser penalties on educators found to have engaged in an “improper relationship with a student or minor” or other sexual misconduct instead of revoking their teaching certificates.

Reprimands like the one received by Errisuriz do not result in educators being added to the Do Not Hire Registry.

CDF’s report also states that school districts are not required to check either TEA’s Do Not Hire Registry or SBEC disciplinary reports when hiring a new educator.

The group recommends that the Texas Legislature establish a standard hiring process for all school district employees and create a detailed statewide database to help schools and other agencies screen prospective employees and volunteers who work with children.

CDF says the aim of their proposed solutions is to ensure that educators implicated in sexual misconduct “are properly held accountable for their actions” so that similar abuses can be avoided in the future.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.