Teacher Sexual Misconduct
Student safety violated by teacher sexual misconduct
Teacher sexual misconduct continues to be a significant problem for students. Statistics indicate that nearly one in ten students will have been the victim of educator sexual misconduct by the time they graduate high school with teachers being the number one offender. The problem with sexual misconduct in our schools is that it is not limited to just teachers. Students are at risk from anyone who has contact with them during the school day.
What a predator will do in a school or a coaching setting, their first move that they will do is begin segregating that child out from the group. And the analogy I gave the jurors many times, is that they're looking for a weaker person in the herd. So that's kind of the first thing is to look at, is this child spending a lot of time alone with this person? What did that person do to get to that stage? And so once they're alone, then the grooming process begins. And again, by giving rides in cars, buying things, buying food, taking them to the movies, to spending a lot of alone time, because the reality is this, it is extremely rare that someone will molest a child in front of people.
In California, teachers accused of sexual misconduct enjoy a lengthy review and appeals process before the revocation of their teaching credential.
The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) is in charge of licensing public school educators. The CTC appoints a Committee of Credentials to review allegations of misconduct, including sexual abuse, against credentialed teachers. If the Committee finds that probable cause exists for adverse action against a credential holder, such as a conviction, it recommends an appropriate adverse action to the Commission.
There are numerous ways for the Committee of Credentials to learn about sexual misconduct allegations. The most common include obtaining records from a law enforcement agency or notification from a school district. This process has loopholes in that it relies on schools and districts to report sexual abuse allegations. In some cases, fearing adverse publicity, schools will stay silent, allow the accused to finish the school year, and then "pass the trash" to an unsuspecting school.
The law requires the CTC to revoke a credential already issued to a person convicted of any sex offense defined under Education Code Section 44010. However, the wheels of justice work slowly.
The law also requires all superintendents and charter school administrators to notify the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing if a credential holder is dismissed, suspended or placed on unpaid administrative leave for more than ten days following an allegation of sexual misconduct, including sex abuse allegations. LAUSD officials say it costs on average $300,000 per teacher to have their credential revoked and it can also take years.
Can someone who has had their credential revoked in California apply for and gain a teaching job in another state? The teacher licensing agency in the other state makes that decision.
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