Pennsylvania senators approve bill designed to end cover-ups of school sexual abuse

Jun 13, 2013 by

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Legislation aimed at ending the disgusting practice known as “passing the trash” gained the approval of the Pennsylvania Senate this week.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Anthony Williams, is designed to prevent educators accused of sexual misconduct from quietly resigning and moving on to another school district.

The legislation would create a standard form districts would have to fill out when a teacher leaves after an allegation of misconduct. It would also require school officials to release documents relating to any allegations when a hiring district requests them, according to the CNHI Harrisburg Bureau.

Williams called the Senate vote “a short victory for the countless families in Pennsylvania who have suffered tragedy due to the heinous practice known as ‘passing the trash,’ as well as for the vast majority of educators and school staff devoted to teaching and protecting our children,” according to the news report.

“Our ultimate victory will come when this bill emerges from the state House and lands on the governor’s desk. We cannot let momentum end now.”

The problem with sexually abusive educators is widespread, as EAGnews noted in a recent series. Many argue that this type of legislation is long overdue, in Pennsylvania and every state in the nation.

There are countless examples of school and union officials conspiring to quietly dismiss teachers accused of sexual misconduct with students. Some of the accused teachers even leave with letters of recommendation and cash settlements. Many of the cases have resulted in teachers securing employment at a different school, only to repeat their heinous behavior.

Williams first introduced the “passing the trash” legislation last year, but the teachers union lobbied hard against it, and it eventually died on the vine. This year, things are different, sort of.

The Pennsylvania State Teachers Association, the state’s teachers union, is “neutral” on the bill, but only shifted positions after it was amended to ensure allegations ultimately found to be untrue won’t be passed on to potential employers.

The Pennsylvania School Board Association backed the bill after changes were made to ensure school boards cannot be sued by former employers if they release documents pertaining to their alleged misdeeds.

The bill, which is perhaps the best crafted legislation currently pending to address the issue of educator misconduct, has the potential to protect students from teachers who have made a career out of sidestepping arrest with “passing the trash” secret deals.

We commend Pennsylvania’s lawmakers for being among the first to square off with the powerful teachers union over this ugly issue.

Pennsylvania senators approve bill designed to end cover-ups of school sexual abuse – powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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