The Virginia House of Delegates Health Committee approved two new pieces of legislation to better protect school kids from teachers who previously admitted abusing children.
One bill requires Child Protective Services agencies to notify school districts if they find a former teacher engaged in child abuse. The second bill requires Child Protective Services agencies to notify the state Department of Education if they find a former teacher engaged in child abuse.
The bills are the direct result of a News-4 I-Team investigation, which revealed a case in Arlington County, Virginia, where a former teacher was found to have engaged in child abuse and slipped through the cracks to get another teaching job.
The I-Team found Child Protective Services failed to promptly notify his school district or the state, allowing the teacher to keep his license. Months later, he found a new job teaching in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Virginia legislators said the investigation revealed that agencies need stricter guidelines to inform all the people they must about a potentially dangerous teacher.
“We spent months and months investigating, public hearings, stakeholders,” said state Del. Mark Keam (D-Fairfax County). “We came to the consensus that yes, this is a loophole.”
“For the families, for the students, this is really important,” said state Del. David Bulova (D-Fairfax County). “We need to make sure we are learning from these loopholes, that we are tightening our laws and regulations so that it doesn’t happen again.”
If the bills are approved by the full House, which votes on Tuesday morning, the legislation moves to the state Senate and could be on the governor's desk by the end of March.