Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Zero Tolerance" Punishment In Schools Doesn't Apply To Those Who Molest School Children

We've all heard of school districts' various "zero tolerance" policies that will get your child disciplined or suspended. For example, if your child gets in a fight that he didn't start and defends himself and fights back, he may still be suspended due to a school's "zero tolerance" for fighting. In fact, according to a recent story, a seven year old boy was suspended for a YEAR for bringing a toy gun to school. Most people would consider this over the top, but schools would no doubt claim that stringent zero tolerance policies are required for the protection of children.


Fair enough. But this leads to an obvious related question: what about a "zero tolerance policy" for school personnel who molest schoolchildren? Welcome to Ohio, where school districts enjoy 100% legal immunity for sexual predators who molest schoolkids while masquarading as trusted school personnel. Under Ohio law, there is no liability for school districts if a student is molested by ANY school personnel no matter where it occurs--on the school premises, the school bus, a field trip--you name it. And even if the school district knows or suspects that an employee is abusing children and does not take action, or fails to perform a proper background check, again, no liability.

Now there's some real accountability. Give 7 year old Johnny a year's suspension for that plastic gun, and give school districts a free pass from being sued when they ignore red flags and discover that one of their own employees is doing unthinkable things to vulnerable children who can't protect themselves.

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