WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and U.S. Representatives Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), and Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) [Wednesday] called on the Senate to take long-overdue action on their bipartisan bill to keep sexual predators out of our kids’ classrooms.
“Since January 1 of this year, over 325 teachers and other school employees across America have been arrested for sexual misconduct with children .That is more than one per school day,” said Sen. Toomey. “Every story represents a tragedy, a childhood shattered, and a family torn by grief, betrayal, and self-blame. I am grateful for the support of those here today that have seen, or experienced, these tragedies first-hand. As our children are going back to school, it is time for the Senate to act to keep our kids safe.”
“The transferring of teachers known or suspected of sexual misconduct between school districts is known simply as ‘Passing the Trash.’ This shameful practice was first brought to my attention in 2006 when I learned of the story of 12-year old Jeremy Bell who was drugged, sexually abused, and then murdered by his elementary school principal who had been passed between schools despite multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. This could have been stopped. The Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act passed the House unanimously last October, and I am confident that it will be met with strong bipartisan support on the Senate floor,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick.
“As the father of two young children, nothing is more important to me than protecting our nation’s children,” said Rep. Steve Stivers. “As our kids head back to school this month, there is no better time for the Senate to act on this important legislation than right now.”
U.S. Senator Pat Toomey
U.S. Representatives, Mike Fitzpatrick, Frederica Wilson, and Steve Stivers — who spearheaded the effort that led the House to pass this bill unanimously.
Child Protection Advocates and Law Enforcement Officials from Across the Country:
• Terri Miller, President, S.E.S.A.M.E. (Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct & Exploitation) from Nevada
• John Seryak, S.E.S.A.M.E from Columbus, Ohio
• Jon Adler, National President, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association
• Melissa Borofsky, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, former Assistant District Attorney for the City of Philadelphia, Pa.
• Denise Edwards, National Children’s Alliance
• Kelli Thompson, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children
• David Freed, District Attorney, Cumberland County, Pa.
BACKGROUND: The Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act closes the loopholes that led to the tragic death of 12-year-old Jeremy Bell. A school in Delaware County, Pennsylvania dismissed a teacher for sexual misconduct but, instead of acting to stop the predator, helped him land a new teaching job in West Virginia. There, that teacher eventually raped and murdered 12-year-old Jeremy Bell.
Senator Toomey’s bipartisan bill requires schools to perform background checks on all new and existing employees and forbids schools from hiring persons who have been convicted of certain crimes-including any violent or sexual crime against a child. It also bans schools from “passing the trash”-the practice where a school allows a known child molester to resign quietly and helps the predator find a new teaching job.
SUPPORTERS OF THE BILL:
• National Children’s Alliance
• Children’s Defense Fund
• National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
• American Academy of Pediatrics
• PA Partnerships for Children
• Association of Prosecuting Attorneys
• Federal Law Enforcement Association
• Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association
• American Federation of Teachers
• Pennsylvania School Boards Association
~ News Release via Pat Toomey, U.S. Senator for Pennsylvania ~