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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Legal Loopholes Keep Some Teacher Misconduct Records Secret

This Associated Press story in the Seattle P-I describes how education agencies across the country use legal loopholes to prevent the public from knowing about teachers' past sexual misconduct allegations or convictions.

Why would agencies serving the public do such a thing? Teachers unions don't want their members' "problems" revealed and when you donate millions of dollars and deliver hundreds of thousands of votes....

This separate AP story in the P-I found 2,500 teachers were punished for sexual misconduct in the past 5 years across the country. And it wasn't easy to find out about them given the public records laws that protect teachers, not parents and students. A third AP story in the P-I showed that Washington state had 125 teachers disciplinary actions for sexual misconduct from 2001 to 2005.

Context is important. There are 3,000,000 teachers in the U.S.; 2,500 were disciplined for sexual misconduct. In Washington, there are 65,000 teachers and 125 were disciplined for this. Fair enough. But these handful of "bad apples" are around our kids all day long and all we're asking for are the public records showing these problems so we can see if the school district is properly addressing these situations. Is that asking so much?