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GAO Released Report on Selected Cases of Public and Private Schools' Hiring of Individuals with Histories of Sexual Misconduct

January 3, 2011

On December 8, 2010, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report: "Selected Cases of Public and Private Schools that Hired or Retained Individuals with Histories of Sexual Misconduct". The GAO was asked to examine the circumstances surrounding cases where K-12 schools hired or retained individuals with histories of sexual misconduct and determine the factors contributing to the hiring and retention of such individuals. The GAO was also asked to provide an overview of selected federal and state laws relating to the employment of convicted sex offenders in K-12 schools. The GAO examined 15 cases from 11 states, and found that the following factors contributed to hiring or retention: (1) school officials allowed teachers who had engaged in sexual misconduct toward students to resign rather than face disciplinary action, often providing subsequent employers with positive references; (2) schools did not perform pre-employment criminal history checks; (3) even if schools did perform these checks, they may have been inadequate in that they were not national, fingerprint-based, or recurring; and (4) schools failed to inquire into troubling information regarding criminal histories on employment applications. For the complete report, click here.

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