House Passes Maloney Bill to Keep Predators Out of Our Schools
HARRISBURG – The House of Representatives today passed legislation authored by state Rep. David Maloney (R-Berks) that would require public and private schools in Pennsylvania and their independent contractors to conduct a thorough employment history review prior to offering employment to any applicant for a position involving direct contact with children.

Maloney introduced the measure, House Bill 2063, based on his experience as a member of a local school board in Berks County. He was concerned when he saw the school administration accepting resignations from school employees with no explanations given to the school board, even in executive sessions.

Maloney strongly objected to the procedures that allowed these resignations to occur because he suspected that school employees had been caught having sexual relations with students, but instead of reporting it to authorities, the school administration let them resign to avoid a scandal. Then, these former employees were free to get a job at another school to continue their predatory behavior.

This practice is known as “passing the trash.”
“When a school employee abuses a student or engages in sexual misconduct with a student, or is alleged to have done so, current law is insufficient to prevent that employee from quietly resigning and moving onto another school, where the abusive conduct may continue,” Maloney said. “We expect that those whom we entrust with our children’s health and welfare to protect them, not prey on them.”
Pennsylvania School Code does not currently 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. Maloney’s proposal will correct this oversight in the law.

Maloney’s bill will 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. Each applicant must provide detailed background information in order to be considered, and previous employers must provide a school entity with all requested background information regarding a former employee.

By providing for immunity from criminal and civil liability for employers, school entities, school administrators and independent contractors that disclose the requested background information, the legislation will remove the threat of a frivolous lawsuit being filed by a sex offender when a school notifies another school of a former employee’s misdeeds.

Perhaps most importantly, the legislation will prohibit a school entity or independent contractor from entering into an agreement to maintain the confidentiality of findings or allegations of abuse against a current or former staff member. The bill will apply to all public schools, private schools, nonpublic schools, intermediate units and area vocational-technical schools in the Commonwealth.

“This new proposal to require school entities and independent contractors to conduct extensive pre-employment background screening complements House Bill 434, which I also authored,” Maloney said. “House Bill 434 abolishes the separate standards and procedures that exist for school employees accused of abusing a student and ensures that school employees are subject to the same investigations and are held to the same standards as parents, child care workers and other perpetrators of child abuse. Together, these bills will strengthen our protection of our children.”

Both of Maloney’s bills are also part of an overall House package of more than 20 pieces of legislation to strengthen and update Pennsylvania’s laws to protect children.

Rep. Maloney's Comments:

Representative David Maloney
130th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Charles Lardner
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