Should educators who commit acts of sex abuse be able to move from school to school, all the while concealing their crimes and putting more children at risk?
The answer is an obvious “no.” Sadly, however, it happens.
The vast majority of teachers and school employees are dedicated and caring professionals – there is no place in education for sex predators. Cases from Silicon Valley to Los Angeles illustrate how individuals who perpetrate these crimes or molest young students have been able to fly under the radar and continue careers in education despite their reprehensible behavior.
SB 1456, the California Sexual Abuse Free Education (SAFE) Act, by Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) would address this cycle head on.
The bill would standardize screening and hiring practices in schools to ensure that predators with a history of child sex abuse cannot game the system, jumping from job to job without consequences or accountability for their actions. Applicant information and records of allegations, investigations, or findings of sexual misconduct with a child would be disclosed unless determined to be false.
“Enough is enough. It is our duty and responsibility to protect our children, not teachers who prey on the young,” said Morrell. “Parents should have peace of mind that their children are safe no matter where they go to school.”
Similar legislation has been passed on a bipartisan basis in four states, including Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and New Jersey. Both Massachusetts and Oregon are pursuing the same requirements.
SB 1456 is supported by the nonprofit Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct, and Exploitation (S.E.S.A.M.E.), the leading national voice for the prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment of students by teachers and other school staff.
The bill will be considered by the Senate Education Committee on April 11, 2018.