House Passes Bill Protecting Students from Sexual Predators
Includes “don’t pass the trash” language from Fitzpatrick/Meehan amendment
WASHINGTON, DC –Congressman Patrick Meehan (PA-07) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2083, the Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act. H.R. 2083 H.R. 2083 will require criminal background checks of school employees in schools receiving any funding under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
“Parents should be able to send their kids to school free from the fear they will come in contact with sexual predators,” said Rep. Meehan. “Requiring background checks for school employees is a common-sense safety measure that will root out convicted sexual offenders and ensure they’re unable to harm children in our classrooms.”
The legislation passed by the House tonight includes language offered by Meehan and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick to legislation passed earlier this year. The bill ends the practice of interstate confidentiality agreements among schools and sexual offenders. It prevents school districts from avoiding negative publicity and litigation by facilitating the transfer of employees who have abused students to an out-of-state school district.
“The tragic reality is that some school districts have been willing to cover up sexual abuse by transferring employees to out-of-state districts. The district that hires the staff member has no way of knowing they’re putting their students at risk.
“The terrible consequences of this were demonstrated in 1997, when 12 year old Jeremy Bell was murdered by his principal after suffering sexual abuse. Bell’s killer was hired by a West Virginia school district unaware that he had been accused of sexual misconduct during his tenure at another school. His former employer even wrote him a favorable recommendation.
“I commend my colleagues for their overwhelming support of this measure, and I urge the Senate to act quickly to protect our children,” Meehan said.