After receiving unanimous approval from both the House and Senate, a bill to keep sex offenders from being employed in public schools was signed into law Monday. Senate Bill 283, by Sen. Josh Brecheen and Rep. Todd Thomsen, will require that the State Board of Education be alerted when a school employee is charged with a sex offense.
“A state school board member brought it to my attention that there’s currently a lack of notification provided to the state board of education concerning school employees charged or convicted of sex crimes with minors or students. This is a major problem given that the board is responsible for issuing and revoking teaching licenses throughout the state,” said Brecheen. “This new law will help ensure that state school board members don’t have to depend on the media to learn about such cases but can get the information quickly from a reliable legal source. This will keep sexual predators out of our schools or get them out quicker ensuring the safety of our children.”
The Coalgate Republican pointed out that some sex offenders simply resign from a school district so charges are not filed and then they are free to move to another school and may repeat the same behavior. For the most part, local school boards do not share this type of information with the state school board.
The measure will require district attorneys to notify the State Board of Education when an employee is charged with a felony or violent misdemeanor and when the employee has been convicted or receives a suspended sentence or probationary term for a sex-related crime for which a teaching certificate would be revoked as provided in statute. School districts must also notify the State Board of Education after the non-reemployment or dismissal of a probationary teacher as a result of finding the person has engaged in criminal sexual activity or sexual misconduct that has impeded the effectiveness of the individual’s performance of school duties.
“Senate Bill 283 is one more step in the effort to stop sexual predators from moving from school to school preying on students, killing their innocence and destroying lives,” said Thomsen, R-Ada. “This bill will help the state school board work hand in hand with local school boards and law enforcement to help keep our kids safe.”
SB 283 will go into effect July 1, 2013.