Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation (S.E.S.A.M.E.) Wants Tougher Laws to Stop the Hiring of Predatory Teachers
Leading advocacy organization urges Sacramento lawmakers to adopt Senate Bill 1456; protect students from anyone with a history of sexual misconduct.
SAN JOSE, CA – March 23, 2018 – Citing the hiring of numerous teachers with sexual misconduct histories, Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation (S.E.S.A.M.E.) is calling for legislation to fix the problem. S.E.S.A.M.E. is the leading national voice for the prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment of students by teachers and other school staff. The organization is urging Sacramento legislators to pass Senate Bill 1456. The bill would prohibit local educational agencies from hiring any person with a history of child abuse or sexual misconduct.
S.E.S.A.M.E. believes that, due to inadequate laws, some educational institutions allow accused teachers to quietly resign, allowing them to get hired unknowingly at other schools. This practice is known as ‘passing the trash,’ where educators facing allegations of a sexual offense are allowed to resign quietly and seek employment at another school with their history of misconduct concealed from the new employer. Senate Bill 1456 would prohibit this practice.
Glaring examples of this problem include Presentation High School in San Jose and the Marlborough School in Hancock Park. At Marlborough School, the sexual abuses of students went unreported for many years and predators were silently shifted school-to-school. At Presentation, a prestigious all-girls Catholic school in San Jose, administrators allowed Theatre Arts instructor Jeffrey Hicks to quietly complete his teaching contract in 2004 even though the administration received at least one report of him sexually assaulting a student. As a result, Hicks was able to secure employment with Stanbridge Academy in San Mateo where he again engaged in sexual misconduct. Stanbridge administrators, unlike those at Presentation, followed proper mandated reporter protocol by alerting authorities resulting in his arrest and conviction for sex crimes involving students. Hicks is now a life-long registered sex offender which prevents him from working with minors ever again.
“The Hicks case at Presentation High School is an all too common child endangerment scenario,” said Terri Miller, President, S.E.S.A.M.E. “Every parent deserves to send their children to school knowing they will be safe,” added Miller.
Robert Allard, an attorney who represents child sex abuse victims, added, “When schools like Presentation High School place image and reputation ahead of student safety by ‘passing the trash,’ laws are required to protect and keep California students safe.”
Make Pres Safe, a group of Presentation High School sex abuse survivors and their supporters, is also urging legislators to adopt Senate Bill 1456.
Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct & Exploitation (S.E.S.A.M.E.) is a non-profit advocacy organization established in 1996, to provide much needed support to victims/survivors, their families and professionals involved in educator sexual abuse/misconduct cases.