Ten states have taken action and at least four more states are considering legislation to stop sexually abusive teachers. The new sanctions follow a stream of arrests and reports that have documented the growing problem of educators victimizing students — like the case of Debra LaFave, pictured here.
A nationwide Associated Press investigation found 2,570 educators lost their teaching credentials or were punished from 2001 through 2005 after allegations of sexual misconduct. The number seems high, but experts say the problem is even bigger than those numbers suggest. Many cases go unreported as victims fear retribution and accusations are difficult to prove. To see which states are doing what, read more.
Utah's legislation permanently revokes the licenses of sexually abusive teachers, while Maine's law shares information about teachers disciplined for any reason (including inappropriate sex) with other states
New York has a new investigation funding — New York currently has more than 800 pending cases, most involving sex with students. South Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Kansas, Minnesota and Virginia, also have new programs, and measures are still being considered in California, Colorado, Delaware and Massachusetts.
Proposals failed to win legislative approval in Indiana, Missouri, South Dakota, Washington state and West Virginia.
The South Carolina superintendent says of the need for change, "so much of what schools do is based on trust. Not only must kids trust their teachers, but parents have to trust those teachers too. And schools have to earn that trust each and every day." Will new laws help? Is there something in our culture that's making teacher/student relations more common?