Last month, the Every Child Achieves Act (Act), along with Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey’s amendment to the Act addressing a practice known as “passing the trash,” were passed in Congress. The Act applies to schools that receive federal aid, and Senator Toomey’s amendment prohibits such schools from helping a school employee get a new job if they know or recklessly disregard credible information that the school employee engaged in sexual misconduct with a student.
An example of “passing the trash” would be the following: A male teacher is having a sexual relationship with a 16 year old girl in a Pennsylvania school. On several occasions, other teachers see the male teacher kissing the girl in a classroom after school and report it to the principal. Rather than investigating and reporting the male teacher to authorities, the principal tells the teacher that he must resign and get another job. The male teacher applies for jobs in other states, and one of the schools calls the principal at the old school to inquire about the male teacher. The principal says nothing of what other teachers saw. As a result, the male teacher is hired at the new school, and 1 year later, he is caught having an inappropriate sexual relationship with another female student.
Related: Perpetuating Teacher-Student Sex Abuse in Schools
Senator Toomey’s amendment, which is similar to and based on state law that was enacted in Pennsylvania, protects students from pedophiles and child molesters sexually abusing them.
It is hard to believe this type of abhorrent behavior happens. How could schools that are supposed to protect and care for our children protect and recommend pedophiles to other schools? As Senator Toomey said, “Congress’s ban is long overdue. This is a victory for children in Pennsylvania and across the country.”
As appalling as “passing the trash” is, schools are not the only entities guilty of this practice. We have also seen this type of abhorrent behavior in Catholic churches.
Sex Abuse Victims’ Rights Against Schools
When a student is sexually abused by a teacher who was “passed” from his last school, the student may have legal rights against that school. If the previous school informed the new school of the teacher’s inappropriate sexual behaviors with a prior student, the new school would not have hired the teacher. Hence, the student would not have been exposed to the teacher and would not have been in an inappropriate relationship with a teacher.
About Brian Kent, a Philadelphia, PA sex abuse lawyer
Mr. Kent is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor and now a Philadelphia, PA sex abuse lawyer. He fights for crime victims’ rights and pursues the cases with his sex abuse clients’ best interests in mind. If you have questions about a teacher/student sex abuse case, call Mr. Kent to schedule a FREE confidential consultation and inquire about your legal rights.
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