By Codi Peterson, Marketing —
In a recent probe by USA Today into the background checks performed on teachers, all fifty states revealed that over twenty states received grades of Ds or worse. When I was going to school they held you back with those kind of grades. For those of you that don’t understand the implications of these statistics, let’s look at a few examples.
According to CBS News three years ago, a kindergarten teacher, Reva Inabnett, was forced to resign after she was caught spanking, pushing, and shaking a 6-year-old child. She was admitted into a deferred prosecution program and then only a year later she was hired on as a teacher at North Webster Junior High School in Louisiana.
Junior High Offender
In 2006, a Texas teacher, Stanley Kendall, was caught soliciting a 13-year-old boy for sex. His teaching license was revoked, but he was still able to get a job as a substitute teacher in Indiana until someone recognized him from To Catch a Predator, an NBC show that tracks down online predators.
An Ineffective Database
These are just a couple cases of many teachers with less-than-admirable records slipping through the cracks and getting jobs across state lines. There is a centralized database that tracks teacher misconduct called the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification Clearinghouse (NASDTEC Clearinghouse); however, there are thousands of missing entries, and it is not even close to being updated and accurate. USA Today investigative reporter Steve Reilly said that the background system is designed for teachers to stay in one state during their career. This leaves plenty of cracks for troubled teachers to slip through the NASDTEC Clearinghouse database and the school systems’ cracks.
Tracking Troubled Teachers
Nelson Mendela said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” Although these are isolated cases and not the norms, we have a moral responsibility to correct this situation. It starts by overhauling the centralized system tasked with tracking troubled teachers. This will create greater correspondence across state lines. To ensure no one falls through the cracks, it’s time we introduce lie detection technologies such as Converus’ EyeDetect, to the interview and screening process for teachers. We already do this for law enforcement and other government agencies. We also do this for jobs in security and handling drugs. Considering how precious and impressionable our children are at young ages, we cannot afford to look over any security measures in order to protect them from such traumatic experiences such as physical, mental, and sexual abuse. We must protect our most important resource—our future.