WASHINGTON – A bipartisan pair of senators is reintroducing legislation aimed at keeping sexual predators out of schools. In 2014 alone, 459 school employees across the nation were arrested for sexual misconduct with students.
For Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, this issue hits close to home. “If we don’t have that one place that we can control to an extent – the public school system – then God help us all,” he said.
Manchin, along with Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, is pushing The Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act. The bill would require elementary and high schools that receive federal funding to conduct background checks. The checks would not only cover teachers, but administrators, bus drivers, coaches, and custodians. Anyone who may have unsupervised access to children will be checked under the bill.
Many times, schools that have an issue with an employee will not fire them but instead help them get a job at another school. This problem is so prevalent, it even has a name – “passing the trash.”
The bill was first introduced last year but was held up by some Republicans in the Senate. They cited the 10th amendment, saying the federal government shouldn’t tell states how to deal with their school personnel. A similar bill passed the House unanimously last year.