Wednesday, October 24, 2007
PARENTS -------- IT COULD BE ANY TEACHER/REBBE/ADULT YOU KNOW! YES...ANYONE! ARE THERE SAFEGUARDS IN PLACE TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD?
From left to right, top row: Rebecca Boicelli, former teacher in Redwood City, Calif.; Donald Coots, who taught in Ohio; Mary Kay LeTourneau, ex-teacher in the Seattle area; Aaron Brevik, who worked in Warren, Mich. Middle row: Jason Ream, once a teacher in Elyria, Ohio; Carrie McCandless, who taught in Fort Collins, Colo.; Kevin Collins, a former band director in Ohio; Troy Mansfield, of Pennsylvania. Bottom row: Debra Lafave, of Florida; Gerald S. Huddleston, of Illinois; Jeffrey Sears of Ohio; Laurie J. Augustine, of Illinois.
From The AP Wire Services:
The effort began in March, when Associated Press reporters in every state and the District of Columbia asked state education officials for records of disciplinary actions taken against teacher licenses from 2001 through 2005. To obtain the records, most of the reporters had to file formal requests, some repeatedly.
Cooperation from state agencies varied widely though, in the end, all but one provided most of the requested information.
Maine has a law that keeps offending teachers' names secret, making it the only state that refused to disclose cases of sexual misconduct to the AP. The three cases the AP found in Maine were made public in widely circulated news reports.
Once AP reporters collected all the disciplinary records, they began to get as much detail as possible on cases of alleged sexual misconduct. Their secondary sources included court, police and prison records and state sex offender registries, as well as various news accounts on the cases, including the AP's.
The reporters were then asked to input their findings into a database.
If the state took an action against an educator following an accusation of sexual misconduct, then that person was included in the AP's count.
All the educators were disciplined for doing something sexual, inappropriate and unprofessional. Many were charged criminally and 1,390 cases resulted in a conviction.
A very small minority of cases, including a couple of dozen involving prostitution, had no direct connection to either schools or to children. But they did involve sexual misbehavior and since education officials punished the teachers for those actions, they made it into the AP count.
In some cases, the allegations didn't result in criminal prosecution. But the states typically through their education departments took action, most often in the form of revocation, suspension or denial of a state teaching license. Sometimes states accepted the surrender of a teacher's license after an accusation surfaced, or as part of a plea deal.
Once reporters entered the teachers in the database, reporters and their editors in each state double-checked the information.
Finally, a team of editors went through the database case-by-case, eliminating several dozen cases in which it was possible to view the alleged misbehavior as non-sexual.