This blog has long rallied against the problem of the cover-up of sexual abuse in public schools. Unfortunately, the victims in these cases—when they are ready and able to come forward and get accountability— usually don’t have criminal and civil rights to expose the abuse. As a result, victims and the public are seldom, if ever, able to learn the full story.
The only times we do get a peek into how alleged sex offenders in public school are treated (unless they are arrested) is when scandal breaks. For example, when the Miramonte child sex abuse scandal broke in Los Angeles, we learned a ton: accused teachers were suspended with pay; teachers arrested for abuse were getting huge payoffs; teachers unions were paying big money to block bills which would have expedited the removal of sex-offending teachers; and, of course, we learned about the infamous “teacher jail,” where teachers accused of inappropriate contact sit idly at taxpayer expense.
For parents and the 99.9% of good teachers out there, this is appalling stuff. Children are second priorities and the reputations of an entire class of hard-working, law-abiding public educators are sullied.
But a little law in Hawaii may be starting a revolution.
On Friday, Hawaii’s civil window for victims of child sex abuse was extended for two more years. But it was also expanded. The new law added the state and counties as potential defendants. That means that if kids were sexually abused in public schools and institutions, they have the next two years to come forward and expose the crime. And if the crime was covered up by a government official, school administration, or bureaucracy, we will find that out, too.
My hope? Other states will look to Hawaii as an example. And a revolution will begin.