An Inland Empire lawmaker’s bill seeking to require schools and school districts to disclose to prospective employers all instances of confirmed or alleged child abuse and sexual misconduct involving a teacher or administrator will be reviewed for the first time next week in the Legislature.
Sen. Mike Morrell, R-Menifee, said he introduced SB 1456, the California Sexual Abuse-Free Education — SAFE — Act, to ensure that parents and guardians “have peace of mind that their children are safe no matter where they go to school.”
SB 1456 is slated to be heard by the Senate Education Committee on April 11.
The legislation would mandate that the California Department of Education create a standard form on which an applicant for a teaching or administrative position list specific information regarding employment history and any “allegations, investigations or findings of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child.”
Completing the form would be a prerequisite to any job offer.
Under the bill, all educational facilities in California, public or private, would be required to report incidents to prospective employers that contact them based on information listed in the forms.
The legislation would relieve prior employers of any civil or criminal liability concerning acts documented and reported — unless details were released that officials knew to be false.
State law already prohibits anyone who has been convicted of a sexual offense from being employed at a school or other educational institution where contact with minors is a possibility, according to Morrell.
He said SB 1456 would close loopholes that currently exist because of privacy regulations. According to the senator, molestation cases originating in the Los Angeles Unified School District and a Catholic school in San Jose spurred him to author the bill, which is supported by the nonprofit Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct & Exploitation — SESAME.
“Enough is enough. It is our duty and responsibility to protect our children, not teachers who prey on the young,” Morrell said.