House GOP teacher-abuse bill blocked by Dems

From House Republicans Press Release 2-19-08:

Democrats Block Bill Introduction on Partisan Vote

SALEM”” House Republicans today proposed cracking down on practices that allow abusive school teachers to be re-hired in different school districts. By a partisan vote on the House Floor, Democrats rejected suspending rules to allow the emergency legislation to be introduced during the February session.

News media yesterday reported on the practice of “passing the trash,” where teachers who sexually or physically abuse their students are able to find new teaching positions at other schools. Currently, a schools district can withhold information regarding sexual or physical abuse from another district if the information is enclosed in a confidential agreement or settlement.

House Republicans proposed requiring a school district to release the background information if another school district needs it to make a safer hiring decision.

“The February session was originally intended to address the most pressing issues,” said House Republican Leader Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg), who brought the issue to the House Floor. “Democrats recently introduced new legislation giving their referrals better placement on the ballot, yet they’re refusing to consider a child protection bill. We simply shouldn’t wait until 2009 to bring transparency to the teacher hiring process.”

Rep. Hanna needed rules suspension to have the bill drafted and introduced because the rules, written by the Speaker and passed by House Democrats, prohibit Republicans from introducing their own legislation for consideration.

“We have a responsibility to keep abusive school teachers out of Oregon’s classrooms,” said Rep. Karen Minnis (R-Wood Village). “The Legislature must decide if we want to protect abusive teachers or to protect children. Today, House Democrats made the wrong choice.”