Education
9:35 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Two Legislators Create Bills to Stop Schools from Hiring Abusers and Sexual Offenders

Two state legislators want to stop “passing of the trash” in Pennsylvania’s education system, but whose bill will “pass” first?

The “Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation” (SESAME) bill was on track toward the governor’s desk.

Sen. Anthony Williams’s (D-Philadelphia) bill was approved unanimously by the Senate and the House Education Committee.

However, a seemingly identical package of bills introduced by State Rep. David Maloney (R-Berks) was introduced early this year.

“They’re introducing a companion bill, I guess, in the House of Representatives which will have to wind its way through the House, finally to the Senate, delaying the process a little bit more,” Williams said.

Maloney acknowledged that his bill is a lot like Williams’s, but he said it could be changed.

“There’s a possibility that mine could be amended, which might change it a little bit, but right now they’re very similar,” Maloney said. “I’ve talked with him and we are very bipartisan with respect to moving this bill to the governor, trying to protect our children.”

He said he doesn’t want his legislation to slow down Williams’s.

“I think we both have the same passion, as I think others do, too,” Maloney said. “So, as a matter of fact, I hope it accelerates the process if you understand what I mean.”

Williams said he would prefer the House take action on his bill, but he would support Maloney’s legislation.

“If it results in victory for these children, I will support it,” Williams said.

The bills call for a stop to school districts “passing the trash” - or allowing educators with histories of abuse to be hired by other school systems without thorough background checks.

“We all should be working for the collective will of the people,” Williams said. “It’s about protecting these children from the scars that they will have to deal with, with the rest of their lives.”

An amendment to Pennsylvania’s Professional Educator Discipline Act, the bills would require districts to reveal whether a prospective hire was ever investigated for the abuse or sexual misconduct of a student.

Williams said the sooner SESAME is passed, the better.

According to him, the issue of “passing the trash” has reached “epidemic levels” with 85 instances in the commonwealth within the last few years.

“It’s my hope that in the coming days, not weeks, the coming days that the governor will see this bill on his desk and will put out of business these predators that are amongst us,” Williams said. eople,” Williams said. “It’s about protecting these children from the scars that they will have to deal with, with the rest of their lives.”

An amendment to Pennsylvania’s Professional Educator Discipline Act, the bill would require districts to reveal whether a prospective hire was ever investigated for the abuse or sexual misconduct of a student.

Williams said the sooner the bill is passed, the better.

According to him, the issue of “passing the trash” has reached “epidemic levels” with 85 instances in the commonwealth within the last few years.

“It’s my hope that in the coming days, not weeks, the coming days that the governor will see this bill on his desk and will put out of business these predators that are amongst us,” Williams said.