Kruse says Safe Schools initiatives are non-optional

Press release from Senator Jeff Kruse

Salem, OR — At a joint hearing with House and Senate Education committees, Senator Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg) called for introduction of new protective measures in Oregon classrooms. A rising number of sex abuse and cover-up stories have made student safety a pressing issue.

“There is no excuse for this type of behavior in our classrooms,” said Kruse. “We have to make it clear that anyone who puts our children at risk will not be tolerated, and lock sexual abusers out of Oregon classrooms for good. That means a system that does thorough background checks, has mandatory reporting and severe penalties for offending teachers.”

Kruse has made several proposals to lock sexual abuse out of Oregon schools. Among them:
– Requiring better communication between Department of Human Services investigators and the Teachers, Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC)
– Protecting whistleblowers who report to the TSPC
– Requiring school districts to document background checks and references
– Revoking pensions for convicted sex offenders
– Removing the statute of limitations for action by TSPC
– Automatically deny licenses that have been revoked in other states

Earlier this year, The Oregonian reported that some school districts have been entering into confidential agreements with teachers who were suspected of abusing students. Offending teachers would transfer from district-to-district without any repercussions.

“These measures are long overdue,” said Kruse. “Parents trust schools and teachers to keep their kids safe, and it is our responsibility to keep classrooms accountable to the highest standards. There is no room for error here.”