House-Passed Student Success Act Includes Meehan Amendments (Press Release)

English: Official portrait of US Rep. Pat Meehan

WASHINGTON, DC –Congressman Patrick Meehan (PA-07) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Student Success Act, H.R. 5, which includes two amendments co-sponsored by Rep. Meehan that protect students and strengthen local school districts.

The Meehan amendment empowers parents, teachers, and local school boards to make educational decisions by prohibiting the U. S. Department of Education from creating costly and burdensome regulations that are inconsistent with the specific intent of federal law. The amendment was endorsed by the National School Board Association, an organization of school board members from districts across the country. Meehan worked with Rep. Aaron Schock (IL-18) to introduce the amendment, which is identical to their legislation, H.R. 1386, the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act.

“Education policy should be set by those that know the community best: parents, teachers and local school board members,” said Rep. Meehan. “This amendment keeps Washington from unduly interfering in the governance of our schools and prevents bureaucratic overreach by the Department of Education. The last thing our communities need is more rules and regulations from Washington.”

The Fitzpatrick-Meehan amendment to H.R. 5 ends the practice of interstate confidentiality agreements among schools and child sex abusers. The amendment prevents school districts from avoiding negative publicity and litigation by facilitating the transfer of employees who have abused students to an out-of-state school district. In addition, the amendment ensures that schools comply with background checks required by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. Rep. Meehan introduced the amendment with fellow Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08).

“Our amendment seeks to end the horrific practice of covering-up sexual abuse of children,” Meehan said. “Unless an employee has been convicted of a crime, schools have no way to know that they are hiring a sexual predator.”

“This had tragic consequences in 1997, when 12 year old Jeremy Bell was sexually assaulted and murdered by his principal. The principal had been hired by a West Virginia school unaware he was fired from a school in Pennsylvania due to allegations of sexual misconduct. His former employer even sent a letter recommending him for the position. School districts must not be permitted to cover up sexual misconduct by its employees.”

“I’m grateful to my colleagues for their support of these important measures,” Meehan said.

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