Passing the Trash

by Dee Ann Miller

I just picked up an old Readers Digest this morning (Jan. 07). Columnist Michael Crowley's feature was about schools that fail to pass along info on alleged sexual predators, resulting in other districts hiring some teacher who resigned instead of facing allegations. It's incredible, even to me. Teachers all over the country are being allowed to retire or resign without any blemish on their records! Politicians are afraid to pass tougher laws because of teacher unions. 10% of students, according to a U. S. Dept. of Education study, reported being sexually harassed or molested by school employees (mostly teachers). In W. VA, the No. 1 reason teachers lost their licenses (35%) was sexual abuse of students.

NY and IA now have some of the toughest laws in the nation for superintendents who sweep things under the carpet and don't pass info along. In NY, a superintendent can be charged with a felony for allowing a teacher to resign rather than face a sexual misconduct allegation! It's called "passing the trash," says Robert Shoop, Kansas State Univ. professor who has been an expert witness almost 50 cases of school abuse. He says he's worked with cases where the predator had been passed through four or five school districts, molesting people for 20 years!

So heads up to teachers, as well as non-offending ministers, doctor, dentists, psychologists, all who should be standing up for safety in beloved institutions. Wake up and stand up against abusing colleagues and join others who know the truth.

Amazing how many problems multiply in the petri dishes of denial and secrecy!

Dee Ann Miller is the author of Enlarging Boston's Spotlight: A Call for Courage, Integrity, and Institutional Transformation (2017) How Little We Knew: Collusion and Confusion with Sexual Misconduct (1993) and The Truth about Malarkey (2000)