New Law Revokes Teaching Licenses Of Sex Offenders
Unlawful Admins Also Targeted
Gov. David A. Paterson joined Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan and state legislators to announce an agreement on legislation providing for the automatic revocation of a teaching certificate held by any school official convicted of a sex offense, as well as legislation providing for the automatic revocation of an administrator's license upon conviction for defrauding the government.
Both pieces of legislation were sponsored by Nolan and State Sen. Stephen Saland.
As announced last wendesday, June 18, these new laws will require District Attorneys to promptly notify the State Education Department when teachers, school administrators or other professional educators are convicted of sexual offenses that require them to register on the state's Sex Offender Registry.
Additionally, District Attorneys will notify SED upon the conviction of administrators who engage in fraudulent schemes at the taxpayers' expense. SED will then immediately revoke these licenses.
Current law does not provide for a mechanism to automatical- ly revoke the certificate or to immediately terminate employment of a teacher convicted of a sex offense for which registration is required under the Sex Offender Registration Act.
The new legislation provides for this mechanism by streamlining the process for revoking a certificate and terminating employment of a teacher who would have already received due process in a criminal proceeding, and includes appropriate provisions to prevent errors through misidentification of the person who has been convicted. The process for the administrator crimes is identical to the teacher sex crimes: immediate revocation.
"We have to do everything in our power to protect our children and communities from sexual predators. We've passed laws to keep sex offenders away from schools and other places where kids gather, and we've required them to regularly register with law enforcement when they get out of prison," said Paterson. "With this bill, we provide another tool to make sure that sex offenders are not in a classroom setting that may put our children in harm's way. This legislation will close gaps that have made it possible for teachers who commit crimes to remain on a school district payroll or to be hired by another school district."
"In addition, we will not tolerate school administrators who use their occupation for personal enrichment through the deliberate misuse or misapplication of district funds,"he continued. "This has happened too many times in the past."
Nolan, who chairs the State Assembly Education Committee, said, "Parents need to know with certainty that when they send their children to school each morning they will be in a safe environment where they are free to learn. By revoking the teaching certificate of any teacher convicted of a sex offense we can protect our students and provide parents with the necessary assurance that the school has investigated each teacher's background completely and thoroughly. In addition, by revoking the certificates and terminating employment of school administrators who defraud the government we effectively protect our school communities."
These bills took effect immediately, it was noted.
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