Audit: Tennessee laws regarding teacher sexual misconduct could improve

Audit: Tennessee laws regarding teacher sexual misconduct could improve

Excerpted from a FOX17News article by Kaylin Jorge and Erika Lathon

The State Comptroller’s Office released a new report outlining ways Tennessee could strengthen its policies when it comes to teacher sexual misconduct involving students in schools.

There have been several instances of sexual misconduct in the state and an audit shows there is room for improvements, and USA Today gave the Volunteer State an “F” grade following a nationwide investigation into sexual misconduct in schools.

The State Board of Education is responsible reporting misconduct and teacher license suspensions. Researchers say some teachers are falling through the cracks.

“Tennessee laws are pretty vague when it comes to defining educator misconduct,” said Tara Bergfield of the State Comptroller’s Officers.

Bergfield said background checks may not be enough to catch problems.

“If that’s our primary way of screening applicants, that’s where people fall through the cracks and they’re able to slip from one District to another,” Bergfield said. “It’s actually probably better for school district to request personnel files of employees from past employers or other school districts.”

In 2016, FOX 17 News uncovered a loophole that allowed former Hunter’s Lane High School Teacher David Shepard to move between districts despite having his license suspended after an arrest in a prostitution sting.

Education Commissioner, Candice McQueen said that is unacceptable.

You can read the full article here.

 

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