WASHINGTON – Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) has a statistic that would frighten any parent in America; so far, this year, more than one school employee has been arrested, per day, and charged with sexual assault of a child.
So Toomey recently took to the Senate Floor to discuss the issue.
“Every day seems to bring a new report of a children robbed of his or her innocence by someone they should have been able to trust,” he said.
So Toomey introduced the Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act. That is bipartisan legislation that, he says, could prevent those situations by requiring schools to check the past behavior of every person hired in the district.
“You gotta do a background check,” Toomey said, “just to make sure that this is not a person who’s committed violent crimes or, God forbid, sexual assault against kids.”
Toomey’s legislation would also prohibit a teacher who has abused a student from resigning without being prosecuted. That way, the employee would not be able to repeat that behavior by getting a job in another school district. A practice that, Toomey says, is all too common.
“We’ve discovered there’s really a horrifying number of children being victimized,” he said.
And Toomey says, because of that, even in this often bitter and partisan Congress, he sees a good future for this bill.
“I’m confident we’re going to get this done,” he said. “It shouldn’t have taken as long as it has. The fact that every day goes by and we’re arresting more and more of these predators is just appalling.”
Toomey says he hopes his bill is brought to the floor for a vote this summer.