Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Some Teachers Accused of Sexual Misconduct Merit Privacy, Washington State Court Rules

I saw this at The School Law Blog last week. In Washington State, some overzealous newspaper wanted to get the names and records of any teacher accused of sexual misconduct, whether such accusations proved true or not.

Of course sexual misconduct by teachers with students is a serious problem. Of couse, those who are found to have engaged in such misconduct should be disciplined and prosecuted accordingly. Of course, the public through the newspapers has a right to know about sexual misconduct by teachers.

However, the last time I looked (and apparently it is changing) we still live in a country where you are innocent until proven guilty. The mere accusation of misconduct would be enough to end an otherwise effective teaching career. Students are getting hip to the idea that the way to eliminate an unwanted to teacher is to accuse that teacher of sexual misconduct. To release the name would be tantamount to placing a scarlet P for pervert on that teacher--effectively ending their career forever.

The Washington State Supreme Court got this one right and the two dissenters are idiots.

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