Schools Are Rehiring Educators Fired For Sexual Misconduct, Senators Want Answers

The Department of Education is failing to protect children from sexual misconduct in schools, now senators want answers.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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sexual misconduct

School is supposed to be a safe haven for all children. Other than a place of learning, parents who send their kids to school should never have to worry about the safety of their child, let alone worry about possible sexual misconduct. However, more lawmakers are bringing attention to the crack in the nation’s educational laws regarding sexual abuse within schools. A recent report from Fox News sheds new light on the shocking laws governing how the states and nation as a whole protect our children from sexual predators within the walls of such institutions. The news might shock you.

In the recently published article for Fox News, the Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, reportedly ignored a letter sent from senators Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin that demanded answers to questions regarding the rehiring of teachers who lost their jobs over sexual misconduct. Back in February, the senators sent a letter to the Secretary of Education asking for a response no later than March 5th. In the letter, the senators referenced the federal government’s policies regarding sexual misconduct. More specifically, the implementation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The revised legislation was something both senators introduced and helped pass in 2015. 

Under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, schools are protected from sexual abuse or misconduct by school employees. Furthermore, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was finally amended in 2015 to include provisions from the Every Student Succeeds Act. Under the new amendments, any school district in the nation that receives federal funding was required to take steps to prevent predatory teachers from finding new jobs. Additionally, Section 8546 requires states to comply with these laws or lose federal funding under the ESEA.

According to the senator’s letter, not only have lawmakers “repeatedly encouraged” the Department of Education to investigate the problems the nation faces with sexual misconduct in schools, but he charges them with failing to comply with their own laws. “The department owes us answers as to the reasons states have failed to safeguard students from sexual predators in schools,” Toomey writes in the letter. 

According to multiple reports, there does seem to be a dire problem involving how states and school districts “pass the trash” as it is often called. Under that moniker, passing the trash refers to a startling cycle within the education system that finds teachers involved with sexual misconduct cases often dismissed only to be rehired within another district. And despite years of efforts to curb this awful phenomenon, it seemingly continues to happen.

sexual misconduct

Additionally, the senators demand the findings of an October 2019 study conducted by the department to find whether the relevant policies were being enacted on the state level

According to NPR, The Department of Education has not published a study to examine sexual misconduct among educators since 2004. That report, however, led by Charol Shakeshaft, analyzed surveys of K-12 students. The findings were indeed horrid, as they concluded about 1o percent of the students had experienced sexual misconduct from a school employee.

Similarly in 2015, the Department of Justice underwent a study examing five school districts regarding sexual misconduct. This study looked at how the districts complied with the new regulations under the ESEA only to conclude that schools were largely not doing anything. Liz Hall, a spokeswoman for the Education Department also told NPR back in 2018 that the department does not monitor how or whether states comply. 

In 2019, researchers found that only four states had fully complied with the 2015 amendments regarding sexual misconduct. While several others were reported to be in the process of conforming, 39 states reported no plans to create legislation addressing the issue. As questions for the Department of Education go unanswered, Senator Pat Toomey will likely continue to urge the federal government to address the issue.