Washington Examiner

Teachers who commit sexual assaults are moved to other schools by school districts, says report.

Report Alleges Public Schools Allow Teachers Accused of Sexual Assault to Move to Other Schools

Public schools have become adept in allowing teachers accused of sexual assault to move to other schools, often with the help of collective bargaining agreements negotiated by teachers unions, a new report alleges.

The Defense of Freedom Institute, a conservative think tank, has released a report detailing several incidents of teachers in public school districts across the country who were accused of sexually abusing students and were subsequently transferred to another school where the abuse continued. The report calls this practice “passing the trash.”

Passing the Trash: A Shocking Reality

The report cites a 2018 study that says school employees who sexually abuse children are typically moved three different times before they are fired or arrested. This allows the employee to abuse “as many as 73 victims” throughout their employment. Shockingly, the latest Department of Education data reveals that there were 13,799 incidents of sexual assault in public schools during the 2017-2018 school year.

Collective Bargaining Agreements and Weak Background Checks

The report faults several causes for the “pass the trash” practice, including weak background checks and a lack of communication between school districts. The report also faults collective bargaining agreements made with teachers unions that allow employees to have their personnel files “scrubbed,” thus ensuring future employers are unaware of an abuser’s history.

The report notes that moving teachers who have been accused of sexual assault to another school or school district in fact violates the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which requires states to enact laws to prohibit abusers from moving between schools and school districts.

Policy Solutions

The report offers several policy solutions to the issue at the state and federal levels. States should look to banning “secret agreements” that lead to personnel records being scrubbed and make it illegal for school district employees to knowingly assist employees who have committed abuse in finding a job in another school district. The report also urges Congress to pass legislation that would require schools to inform parents, students, and teachers of any “violent criminal activity, including sexual abuse, that occur on school grounds, on school transportation, and in school-sponsored activities.”

“This report uncovers failures at every level to protect students from sexual abuse in public K–12 schools,” Defense of Freedom Institute President and co-founder Bob Eitel said in a statement. “What’s most shocking is the lengths to which teacher union leaders will go to protect their members suspected of abusing students and the number of states that have ignored their ESEA ‘pass the trash’ obligations. It’s long past time for real action on this issue.”

The Department of Education did not respond to a request for comment, nor did the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, the nation’s two largest teachers unions.

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