Legislation to protect children from predators in the classroom has stalled in Harrisburg.
Union executives are standing in the way.
Currently, teachers who sexually abuse or have been otherwise accused of harming children are permitted to reach a “confidentiality agreement” with their district and quietly resign. If the same teacher applies for a position in a new district, they are not required to inform the new school of their alleged misconduct.
An in-depth report from PennLive explains the teacher unions’ unpopular position:
Child welfare advocates blame teachers’ unions for not backing transparency throughout the background check process. Union representatives refute that claim, saying they’re generally neutral on the bill.
“We support efforts to keep schools safe, but we also support due process for teachers and other school employees,” Pennsylvania State Education Association spokesman Wythe Keever said.
Due process is not the issue. The issue is an outrageous loophole in state law allowing accused teachers to resign and relocate without having to inform their new district of alleged abuse.
Far from denying due process, the legislation provides for more thorough background checks and allows employers to know if a potential hire was previously investigated.
We all know the vast majority of teachers are committed to the well-being of their students. But apparently union executives won’t lift a finger to make classrooms more safe.