Congress addresses sexual misconduct by educators

by Matt Lacy —

 

A measure has been introduced in Congress that would help stop the problem of school personnel accused of sexual misconduct from simply being transferred from one district to another.

Steve Gunn with the Education Action Group Foundation says all too often school districts throughout the country simply cover up sexual misconduct by teachers.

 

“Instead of dragging it through the media and going through the official process to fire them, we’ll quietly cut a deal — usually with the teachers union involved — to just have the teacher quietly resign, and often they leave with a letter of recommendation from the district,” Gunn says.

But those teachers often wind up in another school district, where the problem only happens again. But Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick’s (R-Pennsylvania) proposed “Jeremy Bell Act” could help put a stop to that by requiring schools to share information about alleged incidents of sexual misconduct by staff who might seek employment elsewhere.

The bill is named after a 12-year-old West Virginia student who was sexually abused and murdered by his principal, despite his having already been fired by school in Pennsylvania over allegations of sexual misconduct.

As in California, Republican lawmakers attempted to pass a measure that would prohibit educators from having any type of sexual relationship with her students. However, Democrats shot down the bill saying that it was an infringement on the rights of two consenting adults.

There are been many incidents of teachers having sexual relations with her students over the years. In one case, a teacher was told by the judge she would serve no prison time because “she was too pretty to go to jail.”

Gunn says under the legislation school administrators who knowingly help an employee who has committed sexual misconduct gain employment at another school across state lines can get up to five years in prison.

 

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