From school nurse to sex offender - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

From school nurse to sex offender

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

RUSK, TX (KLTV) - Rebecca Blankinship has gone from school nurse to convicted sex offender. She pled guilty to sexually assaulting a Rusk ISD student.

The assault happened about a year ago while Blankinship was still employed at Rusk ISD. This is not the first time an educator has been in trouble like this.

So, what is being done to stop it?

From fingerprints to extensive DPS background checks, Nurse Blankinship passed them all.

Rusk ISD officials declined an on camera interview, but Superintendent Dr. Jim Largent issued a statement saying, "...in the end, we are dealing with human beings who make mistakes, and, unfortunately, I don't believe there is any way to completely prevent things like this from ever happening..."

But, even when all the checks, Blankenship's came back clean.

"In a sense, yes, it helps, but they need to be followed up on," said Lea Rowe with the Smith County Child Advocacy Center.

Rowe says the center actually has programs for teachers and students which address those follow-up concerns. Rowe says in these types of situations, the problem is a lack of education.

"What to look for...how to have policy in place and how to react in their everyday setting with the children," explained Rowe.

She says most school districts take it upon themselves to train its teachers and staff. But, now, state lawmakers are getting involved.

House Bill 1041 was signed into law, requiring Texas school districts to adopt and implement policies addressing sexual abuse of children. The goal is to increase awareness, and prevention in the classroom and at home.

"Until society decides to open their eyes on the issue and say I'm going to do what I can to help with this problem...and take owner for your actions and be more observant of the actions of others...then we're going to be able to see it change."

A task force is expected to present a strategic plan of action to the governor this November.

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