Two bills introduced by state Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) are designed to help superintendents and principals keep tabs on school employees with child abuse allegations in their records.
Under bill A.9600, school superintendents in New York State would be required to report all allegations of child abuse by school employees or volunteers when those individuals are in the process of transferring to new school districts.
Bill A.9598 would require the immediate termination of any school employee or volunteer convicted of of child abuse.
In a statement issued by his office on Tuesday, Hevesi said he crafted both bills following a spate of child abuse cases in New York City schools that have been made public this school year.
Fifteen employees of the city’s Department of Education have been arrested on sexual or other abuse charges this school year.
“These bills are a simple matter of doing what is right for our children to ensure their safety and welfare in school settings,” Hevesi said. “Principals should feel assured that they have the best possible information when making hiring decisions, and likewise superintendents should be responsible for facilitating the transfer of all essential information during school employee transfers.”
Hevesi said A.9600 is meant to ensure that both superintendents and hiring schools remain accountable for the safety of students, by validating the integrity of newly hired school employees and volunteers.
Additionally, bill A.9598 will tighten up provisions in state education law which allow convicted child abusers to remain in school settings until a superintendent deems them unfit for their positions.
He said for schools to maintain their reputability, parents should feel assured of the integrity of the staff that interacts with their children.“These bills are about accountability,” Hevesi said.