Disqus

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Disclosing Teachers Names

According to an article in today's PI, the Washington State Supreme Court has ruled that public school teachers who have unsubstantiated allegations of sexual misconduct are exempt under the Public Disclosure act. The ruling was 6-3. From the article:

"The majority says a teacher's identity should only be released when alleged sexual misconduct has been substantiated or when that teacher's conduct results in some form of discipline, even if only a reprimand."

I might go read this ruling and the dissent which apparently says the majority is ruling contrary to the act and that the ruling will put children at risk.

I get this ruling except for one thing. My thinking is just that if a teacher has the accusation "substantiated" (I'm thinking that means evidence and the teacher is brought to trial) or the conduct results in discipline from the district then you should release the name. But if neither thing happens, either from the legal system or the district, maybe it is in the best interests of all to not release the teacher's name.

My one thing? Our district has a bad habit of allowing principals to not record allegations against teachers. It might take awhile before a teacher finally gets in trouble. If I had faith that this district would enforce its own rules on this subject, then I'd agree with the majority.

1 comment:

Charlie Mas said...

Here's the part of the story that I found most alarming:

"The Supreme Court's majority, led by Justice Mary Fairhurst, ruled that a teacher's identity should be made public only when alleged sexual misconduct has been substantiated or when that teacher's conduct results in some form of discipline, even if only a reprimand.

But when the allegations are determined to be unsubstantiated, a teacher's identity is exempt from public disclosure laws because "such disclosure would violate the teacher's right to privacy."

"Allegations of such abuse should be thoroughly investigated by school districts and, if the allegations are substantiated, the media may request records containing the identity of the perpetrating teacher," Fairhurst wrote.
"

Ummm... No. I can't believe a Supreme Court Justice couldn't get this right. Allegations of such abuse should be thoroughly investigated by the POLICE.

The District personnel are mandatory reporters. So they are required by law to report these concerns to the police. In addition, what qualifies the District staff to conduct an investigation? Who is going to do the investigating? A principal? Don't they have conflicts of interest?

Wrong, wrong, wrong. The proper organization to investigate are the POLICE. The police will naturally investigate when the school district personnel report their suspicions to the police or CPS as the law requires them to do.