Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Missouri House approves bill cracking down on teacher sex abuse

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Teachers accused of sexually abusing students could face greater scrutiny when they try to switch schools under legislation given preliminary approval Tuesday by the House.

The measure would require prompt reporting of sex abuse allegations to the state, and mandate those records be retained -- even if they aren't proven true.

It also would require school districts to adopt policies on staff and student communications and how schools communicate with each other about former employees.

The legislation was sparked by an investigation by The Associated Press that found 87 licensed teachers in Missouri lost their credentials from 2001 through 2005 because of sexual misconduct. Some continued working in other school districts after allegations arose.

To make that less likely, the legislation protects whistle blowers by barring lawsuits against school district employees who tell about sexual abuse allegations when a new district seeks to hire an employee from the old district.

When a school employee abuses a student, the legislation allows the victim and school district to sue if a previous school district had fired the perpetrator for sexual abuse and didn't disclose it.

Rep. Jane Cunningham said "passing the trash" or "mobile molesters" has been common as problem teachers move from one school district to school district.

"We have an epidemic," said Cunningham, R-Chesterfied.

Continued here.

Note from Gag:

This is good. I was so worried about Missouri's 'mobile molester' problem that I was making plans to set up a mobile Molester-Mobile to follow bad teachers around until they had to join the Church of Scientology just to avoid me. I even had a deal on a good used truck.