Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Teacher molesters

Kudos to the Oregonian for an excellent series on how the public schools handle teachers who have abused students. In short, in several hundred cases the Oregonian found, Oregon's schools do pretty much what the Archdiocese got sued for: cover it up and pass the employee to another location.

It's unconscionable, and it is a stark illustration of how much the school system is set up to benefit the adults rather than the children. Teacher gets caught with inappropriate contact with a student, and rather than go throught the expensive and time consuming process to discipline him, the district allows him to leave and agrees not to give a bad reference.

Off he goes to molest again. Imagine being the parent of a daughter who was molested by a teacher who had been passed along like this because the district didn't want to bother with the hassle of doing what they should. I would be murderous, I can tell you.

It is made even more outrageous given that these school officals are all mandatory reporting personnel - they are required by law to report any suspicion of child abuse. But when it's their employee, not only do the fail to report it, but they actively cover it up so the molester can find more victims!

Today the House Republicans tried to introduce a bill to deal with this problem, and the Democrats balked. The bill would have required a rules change, and the D's refused. They called it a cheap political stunt, but in my view they look horrible - standing by their teacher union puppetmasters, kicking the kids under the school bus.

This must be fixed. It's one of those rare issues that is not only the right thing to do, but it is a great politcal issue because the Democrats will only go along kicking and screaming, revealing where their loyalties REALLY lie.


Anonymous said...

Rob, do you know if the "secret agreements" are covered under the State's "Open Meeting" law? I assume that is how the Oregonian got copies.

Geoff Brown said...

I don't know enough about Oregon schools to comment intelligently, but I can offer a useful online tool for school personnel who do notice signs of child abuse. Because this is such a tricky legal and emotional landmine, teachers often hesitate to talk to the child at all. This new online role-playing course lets teachers rehearse a conversation with a possible child abuse victim. It was written by a former Minnesota police detective who lectures on child abuse detection. It's at: http://www.hownottotalk.com/abuse. There's a free trial version (120+ pages) and a CEU-credit version. Maybe a few Oregon teachers will find this helpful, and save an abused child before it's too late....