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Legislation to address school employee misconduct moves to the Kentucky Senate

Testimony Before the Kentucky Senate Education Committee 03-21-24
Stu Johnson
Testimony Before the Kentucky Senate Education Committee 03-21-24

Legislation seeking to prevent school employee misconduct involving students is nearing final passage. It emerged from the Senate Education Committee on Thursday.

The committee hearing started with testimony from a college student who spoke of grooming and sexual abuse carried out by her former high school teacher. GOP Bill Sponsor James Tipton testified when accusations are made, sometimes teachers resign and school systems drop investigations.

“This would require all school districts to complete investigations to completion regardless of whether that teacher employed stayed employed in that school district,” said Tipton.

Tipton said the legislation doesn’t pertain to 99.9% of school teachers, but he said bad actors in society include some in schools. The bill says all information would be removed from a permanent record of teachers found not guilty.

During the Senate committee hearing, Alexandria GOP Senator Shelley Funke Frommeyer asked Tipton about school athletics.

“Not always are coaches considered employees. Does this cover the coaches and they may even be volunteers?” asked Funke Frommeyer.

“As I’ve reviewed the language I believe that it would,” said Tipton.

More than one lawmaker stated this legislation doesn’t pertain to the vast majority of teachers. Tipton said the measure covers all employees in public schools as well as charter schools, which Kentucky currently is not home to.

Senate Education Committee members heard from Kotomi Yokokura who spoke about the sexual abuse she received from a former high school teacher. She said she wished she could say that her experience was unique, but since her testimony last year Yokokura said many others told her their stories and she believes there are many untold stories as well.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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