WASHINGTON, D.C. – Federal lawmakers want to prevent schools from employing convicted sex offenders, kidnappers, murderers, pornographers, spouse beaters and rapists.
It’s such an obviously good idea that Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House agree on it, and passed legislation by a simple voice vote to make it the law.
But there’s one group who thinks this is a bad idea: leaders of our nation’s teachers unions.
“The bill has run into objections from major teachers’ unions like the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. In letters to lawmakers, their criticisms included concerns that the measure might jeopardize workers’ protections under union contracts,” the Associated Press reports.
In other words, the teachers unions are more concerned with the contractual “protections” afforded murderers and rapists than protecting students from these vile monsters. The NEA is also reportedly concerned that because minorities make up a disproportionately high percentage of criminals, they’d be disproportionately impacted by the bill.
There’s a rampant problem in U.S. schools involving teachers sexually abusing students. It happens in high schools, middle schools and elementary schools at an alarming and seemingly increasing rate. Virtually all types of school employees have been busted for using their positions to proposition students, including administrators, teachers, cafeteria workers and contractors for public schools. Teachers are having babies with students and vice-versa.
In far too many cases involving teachers or administrators, union officials have negotiated separation agreements with employers that allow the offenders to quietly leave their positions with a letter of recommendation, and sometimes a hefty payout.
The House-approved legislation would ensure “every school employee, from the cafeteria workers to the administrators, to janitors to the teachers, principals and librarians, that every one (including school contractors)” is screened through the FBI fingerprint identification system and the national sex offender registry, Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., told the AP.
“The bill would forbid public schools to employ people convicted of crimes against children including pornography, or of felonies including murder, rape, spousal abuse or kidnapping. It would bar school districts and state education agencies from transferring workers who have engaged in sexual misconduct with minors to another location,” the news service reports.
The legislation includes an appeal process for school employees, but they would be prevented from continuing work during an appeal.
Isn’t this all just common sense? How could anyone oppose such legislation? And what does it say about union leaders who are opposed?
EAGnews recently analyzed educator sexual misconduct in a four-part series titled “Sextracurricular Activities,” which revealed a patchwork of state laws that are not always enforced. Educators have transferred from one position to another amid allegations, only to repeat their heinous behavior. The series also chronicles how unions enable pedophile teachers through due process hearings and legal appeals that make it very difficult and expensive for schools to dismiss them.
To union officials, employed teachers equal dues dollars, regardless of whether they’re a danger to students.
Legislators in states like California and Pennsylvania have taken aim at the problem, but politically powerful teachers unions have lobbied and successfully killed legislation to address the issue.
The national legislation approved by the House would be very effective, since it would apply to all employees in every school in all 50 states. The measure is now heading to the Senate, where it will be reviewed along with other federal proposals for K-12 schools.
It seems likely the NEA and AFT will continue to lobby against the bill to serve their own self interests, but the bipartisan support it received in the House may be an indication that Democratic lawmakers tied to the unions are finally ready to put the safety of children ahead of partisan politics and do the right thing.
It’s about time.