Sunday, October 21, 2007

State schools see sexual misconduct

LOUISVILLE --In elementary and secondary classrooms across Kentucky, teachers have harassed, molested and -- in the worst cases -- sexually assaulted the students they were entrusted to nurture and protect.

State officials handled 95 instances of teacher sexual misconduct over a recent five-year period, ranging from minor violations like using sexual language to more serious, criminal acts such as inappropriate touching and even sodomy and rape. That's about two violations for each month on the school calendar.

In a sample of teacher disciplinary actions from 2001 to 2005 by the state agency that tracks violations, 95 teachers had their license suspended or revoked, or they surrendered it for wrongdoing related to sexual misconduct. That's 42 percent of the 227 teachers who faced punishment for all misconduct during that time.

Some crimes were so egregious, the teachers ended up in prison or on the state registry of sex offenders. Others committed minor violations such as browsing for Internet porn on school grounds and were given a short suspension...

...Kentucky requires school superintendents to report allegations of sexual misconduct by teachers and substitutes. The allegations are reviewed by the state's Education Professional Standards Board, which maintains records on teaching certificates and rules on suspensions and revocations.

Though nearly 100 educators were punished for sexual misdeeds in the sample, officials said the actual number of cases could be higher. Some districts only recently have begun reporting smaller violations. Officials with the standards board began stepping up efforts in 2004 to encourage superintendents to report alleged abuses, said Alicia Sneed, the board's director of legal services. Sneed said some superintendents had thought they needed to report alleged abuses only if a teacher had been fired....

...At least 13 teachers punished for sexual misconduct are listed as active teachers by the standards board. Most committed minor offenses, were suspended for a month or two and were allowed to return to the classroom.

In order to better track teachers who have been punished and moved on to another district or state, the state school board in 2004 voted to print suspension and revocation information on the face of Kentucky teacher's certificates, so when teachers moved to a new district or state, the offenses came with them, said Brenda Dinkins Allen, a former attorney with the standards board.

"It made it clear to the teacher that this could affect the rest of their working lives," said Allen, now general counsel for Fayette County's school board. "They have to take that from district to district." ...

This from the Herald-Leader.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, seems cool.