Wednesday, September 24, 2014

PA Sen. Pat Toomey sounds official Predator Panic button in time for school

I'm not surprised to see a fluff bill in the national legislature. I'm not personally concerned with stopping a background check bill where most schools run background checks anyways. Nor am I even concerned that Sen. Toomey uses some dubious stats in his speech, failing to mention the fact that his examples are of people who would have passed background checks in the first place. Nor am I surprised that the case that inspired the bill would NOT have been saved by the acts in the bill (Edgar Friedrichs Jr had no record because he was never charged with past wrongdoing). But when you make a statement that "predators are getting their prey" because a national background check bill has not passed, THAT, my friend, is Shiitake-Worthy.

Lawmakers urge Senate to act on sex predator bill

POSTED: 09/09/14, 6:15 PM EDT | 0 COMMENTS

WASHINGTON (AP) — A group of lawmakers led by Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania on Tuesday called on the Senate to pass a bill to keep sexual predators out of schools, saying added security checks on teachers, coaches and bus drivers are needed to protect students from potential harm.

Toomey, a Republican, is co-sponsoring a bill with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., that would require states that receive federal education funds to conduct periodic background checks. It also seeks to bar schools from hiring employees or contractors convicted of certain offenses, such as any violent or sexual crime against a child or drug and assault-related crimes committed within five years.

The House unanimously passed similar legislation last year. But the Senate bill remains unmoved in committee.

“Our children are back to school now. Predators are getting their prey now,” Toomey said. “The Senate needs to act now.” 

He was joined by U.S. Reps. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, who led efforts to pass the bill in the House, as well as an array of law enforcement and child advocacy groups.

Toomey cited statistics that since Jan. 1, more than 325 teachers and school employees have been arrested across the U.S. for sexual misconduct with children.

The legislation was prompted by the case of 12-year-old Jeremy Bell, who was raped and murdered in West Virginia in 1997. Edgar Friedrichs Jr. is now serving a life sentence in connection with the boy’s death. Toomey said Friedrichs had been dismissed by a school in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, on suspicion of sexual misconduct. That school then helped Friedrichs land a new teaching job in West Virginia.

The measure has drawn some concern from educators, who say it may violate their privacy. Some Republicans have also expressed concern that the bill amounts to a federal mandate and that states should take the lead on education issues.

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