One bill will require superintendents to report all allegations of child abuse by school employees or volunteers during the transfer of accused persons between school districts.
Another aims at making mandatory the immediate termination of any school employee or volunteer convicted of child abuse.
The first bill is meant to ensure that both superintendents and hiring schools remain accountable for the safety of students, by insuring the integrity of newly hired school employees and volunteers.
The latter piece of legislation will tighten up provisions in state education law that currently allows convicted child abusers to remain in school settings until a superintendent deems them unfit for their position.
Hevesi drafted the pieces of legislation in response to a series of child abuse cases that have recently surfaced in numerous schools throughout New York City.
The bills, he said, provide necessary accountability that has at times previously been overlooked. He said they also provide parents with assurance of the integrity of the staff that interacts with their children everyday.
“These bills are a simple matter of doing what is right for our children to ensure their safety and welfare in school settings,” Hevesi said. “Principals should feel assured that they have the best possible information when making hiring decisions, and likewise superintendents should be responsible for facilitating the transfer of all essential information during school employee transfers.”
Noting that the bills are about accountability, he added, “when it is a matter of our children’s safety there is no room for finger pointing.”
(Lisa A. Fraser)