Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: February 9, 2015
Bill to keep
sexual predators out of classrooms heads to full Senate
The Senate Education Committee approved legislation
Monday to better protect schools from unknowingly hiring sexual
predators. Sen. Kyle Loveless says Senate Bill 301 will close a
loophole that is allowing school employees to move from one school
district to another after committing sexual crimes against minors.
“Under current law, we have a problem because school districts
are given the option whether or not to report inappropriate relationships
or sexual misconduct to the State School Board of Education,”
said Loveless, R-Oklahoma City. “What happens too many times
is that a rape or molestation occurs, an investigation takes place
and the victim’s parents and the school board agree that if
the perpetrator simply resigns, no charges will be filed. The perpetrator
then moves to a different school district, which isn’t allowed
to ask why the individual resigned from their previous job. The
predator gets hired and is free to commit the same crimes until
he or she is caught again.”
Currently, the State Board of Education has the authority to not
issue or revoke the teaching certificate of anyone convicted of
certain crimes such as sexual abuse or exploitation with a minor.
The district attorney must notify the applicable school district
superintendent and the State Board of Education if charges are filed
against a school employee for such crimes and if there is a conviction.
Current law does not provide any authority to the State School Board
to address cases where no charges are filed against a school employee
who commits a sexual crime against a student.
SB 301 would require local school district boards of education,
rather than the DA, to notify the State Board of Education within
30 days of an employee being fired or resigning while under investigation
for violating the law. The measure would also allow the State Board
of Education to hire someone to investigate such cases.
“I understand parents of a victim not wanting to traumatize
their child further by pressing charges and the incident becoming
public, but school districts should have the right to report these
incidents to the State Board of Education to do their own investigation
and decide if an individual should be able to continue working in
the state school system,” said Loveless. “We’re
failing our school districts if we don’t close this loophole
and keep schools from hiring sexual predators because they’re
unaware of their backgrounds. Our children and schools deserve better.”
SB 301 will next be considered by the full Senate.
For more information, contact
Sen. Loveless: (405) 521-5618