Many Texans parents and constituents believe that the corridors of our school’s hallways are basically completely safe from the sexual predators that plague our great state and prey on our children. However, this is not always the case.
Over the course of the legislative interim, one of the highest priorities of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, was to eliminate the egregious and horrifying practice, or malpractice, of “passing the trash.”
So common that it has garnered a nickname in the educator community, and now the community writ large, “passing the trash” refers to an all too common practice in which a teacher, accused of sexual assault, in one school district resigns, and is rehired in another.
In these cases, the educator is often presented with an opportunity to resign quietly, as opposed to being fired. Such an arrangement is beneficial for both the teacher and the school administration because it keeps the issue out of the news, and more importantly out of the court.
In these cases administrators will opt to not press or file charges on the basis of the sexual assault claims, and in turn not report said incident to the state even though it is mandated by state law.
The issue was brought to light after intensive reporting and a thorough investigation by Charlotte Huffman at WFAA/Channel 8 Dallas.
In the Texas Senate, State Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston,) is spearheading an effort to create stricter penalties for teachers who engage in such activity and punish administrators within school districts who are complicit in such behavior.
Joining Bettencourt is State Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano,) whose district has been highly affected by the problem. Taylor has been vocal in his support of this legislation, and has already become a coauthor.
“Just because Texas has been making a mistake doesn’t mean we can’t reverse course.” Taylor said in an interview.
The proposed legislation (SB 7) will ideally “strengthen the reporting and training requirements, and establish appropriate penalties.” The bill has already been coauthored by 26 other senators, drawing significant support from both parties.
Regardless of political affiliation, this piece of legislation represents common sense. Citizens should hope, that SB 7 will continue to move through to a vote quickly, so that Texans can keep criminals of the worst kind out of children’s classrooms.