February 27, 2007

Associated Press: Spitzer administration, teachers' union take on teacher sex cases

Source: Michael Gormley, Associated Press

The Associated Press reports:

The Spitzer administration's education czar and the state's largest teachers' union on Monday said they will help confront a rise in cases of teachers having sex with students.

"There must be zero tolerance for abuse in our schools," said Manny Rivera, Gov. Eliot Spitzer's deputy secretary for education. "We must do all we can to give educators the tools they need to identify child abuse and to sanction those individuals who break the law and harm our kids."

The state's largest teachers union said it would support further training for teachers, administrators, school board members and other school employees to promptly report rumors of inappropriate relationships between adults and children in schools.

Richard Iannuzzi, president of the New York State United Teachers union, said he would also seek to speed the process in which the state handles accusations.

"I think that would be a great direction to go in," Iannuzzi said Monday. "Predators should be nowhere near children."

NOTE: The rise in the number of sexual misconduct cases is troubling. Educators - whether they are teachers, administrators, school-related professionals or school board members - all have a special responsiblity to protect children. Those who prey on children do not belong anywhere near our schools. They must be reported, through the proper channels, to authorities. While one case of misconduct is too many, the State Education Department report should be also placed in proper context. The cases affirmed by SED make up a minuscule fraction of the 225,000 classroom teachers and tens of thousands of other eduators who work with children every day.

NYSUT represents 575,000 teachers, school–related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care, and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

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