AUSTIN (CN) – A teacher sued the State Board for Educator Certification for revoking his credentials because he had two consensual, off-campus sexual encounters with an 18-year-old senior, who never had been his student, nor attended his school, nor even the district where he taught, and acknowledged that she instigated the relations.
The Texas Education Agency accused Robert Lange of “violating the Texas Educator Code of Ethics by having an inappropriate relationship with a student” in a hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings, according to Lange’s complaint in Travis County Court.
Lange says the agency overstepped its authority by revoking his license, and lays out a series of facts to back up his case that his contact with the 18-year-old, referred to as CS, was not inappropriate.
“Lange was not CS’ teacher (nor had he ever been) … The sexual encounters did not occur on school property. They occurred in a martial arts studio on private property … The sexual encounters did not occur during school time. They occurred in late December and early January when school was not in session.”
In addition, CS attended school in Mesquite Independent School District in Dallas County, while Lange taught in the Plano Independent School District in Collin County.
Lange continues: “The sexual encounters did not occur directly or indirectly within the context of any school activity. CS received no extra credit for her participation in the martial arts program. At the time of the sexual encounters in question, CS was an adult, 18 years of age, acting on her own volition, admittedly instigating the two sexual encounters.”
After their second encounter, in January 2007, Lange and CS had no further contact, Lange says.
An administrative law judge issued a decision in August 2010 and found that Lange had “engaged in oral sex acts with a student, CS, while CS was a high school senior and recommends TEA revoke his certificate,” according to the complaint.
Lange filed exceptions to the decision and though the State Board for Educator Certification’s board “struggled with the issue” it sided with the judge, and revoked Lange’s credentials in April this year.
Lange, who had been certified to teach in Texas public schools since 1979, filed a motion for rehearing, which the board denied.
He claims the agency breached his due process rights under the Texas Constitution by adopting the judge’s decision, and that his revocation is “not reasonably supported by substantial evidence considering the reliable and probative evidence in the record as a whole.”
Lange asks the court to reverse and remand.
He is represented by Kevin Lungwitz of Austin.