Karen Lawson, a psychologist with Baylor College of Medicine, says teachers who have inappropriate relationships with their students fall into two broad categories. Those categories include: student victims younger than 13 and those victims who are between 13 and 17.
"Many times what I hear is that somehow cell phone numbers are exchanged -- even for an after school event, even so one can find each other at a track meet on the weekend," she said. "Then phone numbers are had by one another, then texting will start, then more familiarity with each other builds."
Dr. Lawson said when familiarity builds, boundaries can be blurred.
Recently, she testified in the case involving Alexandra Vera. Vera, a former Aldine Middle School teacher, pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a child.
"A teacher's cell phone should be guarded like money in Fort Knox," Lawson said in court documents.
She advises teachers to avoid giving advice on a one-on-one level.
SCHOOLHOUSE SCANDALS: Recent cases of teachers accused