Cutler Amendment Helps Stop “Passing the Trash”
4/2/2014
HARRISBURG – In an effort to ensure school districts are not hiring child predators, Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom) supports House Bill 2063, legislation designed to stop school districts from unknowingly hiring employees who may be a danger to students. Today, the bill was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives.

Currently, a teacher can resign from a school after being accused of misconduct with a student, and previous employers are not required to tell other districts about the alleged offenses. So a predator may be hired by a new school where the abusive conduct may continue. This practice of not informing districts of past behavior is commonly referred to as “passing the trash.”

“Students have the right to a safe learning environment,” Cutler said. “If we are not doing everything we can to keep predators out of the classroom then we are failing our children.”

House Bill 2063 was introduced by Rep. David Maloney (R-Berks County) in response to multiple instances statewide where school district employees had inappropriate relationships with students. Current school code does not require school entities to conduct a thorough employment history check of job applicants, nor does it require school entities to provide a comprehensive response to a background inquiry from another school entity. This legislation would require all school entities and independent contractors of school entities to conduct detailed employment history reviews prior to offering employment to any applicant for a position involving direct contact with children. Plus, previous employers would be required to provide a school entity with all requested background information regarding a former employee.

An amendment proposed by Cutler was unanimously adopted by the House and takes the background check a step further, requiring school districts to inquire whether PDE has received notification of pending criminal charges against an applicant. The amendment would also require PDE to obtain and monitor public safety and criminal justice information (including, but not limited to, arrest and disposition information for all educators) from any statewide electronic database, for use when determining whether or not someone should be certified to teach in Pennsylvania.

“The tools used by law enforcement to check criminal histories are already widely available,” Cutler added. “A simple criminal background check can make the difference in either allowing a predator into a classroom, or making sure he or she is kept out. There is no excuse for this happening in our schools, and we must take action before another predator slips through the cracks and lands in a classroom.”

House Bill 2063, as amended by Cutler, will now face a vote before the full House chamber.

For more information on Cutler’s legislative goals visit www.RepCutler.com or facebook.com/RepCutler.

Representative Bryan Cutler
100th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Mike Straub
717.260.6479
mstraub@pahousegop.com  
RepCutler.com / Facebook.com/RepBryanCutler
Twitter.com/RepBryanCutler
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