Thursday, October 12, 2006

We should know who's educating our kids

I think this is very true, I am surprised it has to be said though. Anyways, now it's been said and it is definately time to do something about it.
Here is a link to Find your MP by postal code Please take a moment to do this, send your MP a letter, I am sure even an email will do, maybe you could even phone their office and let them know you want them to do whatever is possible to ensure that your children are not being taught by someone who is a pedophile.

We should know who's educating our kids
Keep tabs on abusive teachers so they don't strike again

Michael Smyth, The Province
Published: Thursday, October 12, 2006
The sensational and salacious criminal trial of former schoolteacher Tom Ellison serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers posed to our kids in B.C. public schools.
It should also serve as a swift kick in the pants to a provincial government that seems to have forgotten its promise to protect children from abusive teachers.
It's rapidly approaching two years since the Liberals promised to bring in tough new regulations to report teacher misconduct and ensure school boards don't hire sexual predators to teach in the classroom.
Tom Christensen, then the education minister, vowed to bring in an "employment registry" so school boards could check the background of any prospective teacher.
He also promised clear and strict guidelines for reporting misconduct and disciplinary action to the B.C. College of Teachers.
Parents are still waiting for these critical reforms. The delays are unforgivable. And it's all extremely frustrating for the school trustees who have been fighting for these changes for years.
"School boards need to know if they're hiring appropriate people," Penny Tees, president of the B.C. School Trustees Association, told me yesterday.
Incredible as it may sound, school boards don't have guaranteed access to the complete work histories of prospective teachers.
A registry would allow boards to check exactly where teachers had worked in the past, whether they had ever been found guilty of misconduct and what disciplinary measures were taken against them.
A behind-the-scenes fight has raged over whether such a registry should be made available to the general public so parents can check the classroom record of the people teaching their kids.
I've always been in the public disclosure camp in these sorts of debates, but the immediate priority here is the protection of children.
So the solution for now is simple: Set up the registry and let school boards have access to it. Anything less is irresponsible. And that's what the government has been on this file.
The need for an employment registry came into sharp focus after Abbotsford substitute teacher Serg Lebedoff was allowed to continue teaching in different districts, even though he'd been disciplined at least three times for inappropriate conduct.
He eventually resigned and admitted to having had sex with an underage girl.
Why is the government dragging its feet on this issue? Probably because the Liberals want peaceful relations with the teachers' union to avoid any more politically damaging labour strife.
But pro-union regulations are part of the problem here, too. Currently, a teacher accused of misconduct can delay investigations through the grievance procedure.
As the Ellison trial is proving this week, young kids look up to teachers and are willing to place their deepest trust in them.
It's up to the government to take every step possible to ensure that trust isn't betrayed.
That's not happening and that's a betrayal in itself.
Listen to Nightline B.C. with Michael Smyth every weeknight at 7 p.m. on CKNW, AM 980 Voice mail: 604-605-2004 E-mail:
© The Vancouver Province 2006


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