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SCHOOL PATROL

New report finds Tennessee needs to improve in reporting sexual misconduct

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TENNESSEE (WRCB) -

When it comes to sexual misconduct policies in schools, the state of Tennessee was given a grade of an F. 

The grade received by USA Today network after a 2016 national investigation, which found teachers accused of sexual misconduct were routinely allowed to resign only to end up accused of similar behavior in other districts. 

Now, the Comptroller's Office of Research and Education Accountability (OREA) has released a 126-page report examining Tennessee's relevant laws, policies, and practices to determine whether there are areas of risk or weakness that could be improved. 

The report says Tennessee is not doing enough to stop teachers accused of abuse from getting new jobs. State law prevents districts from hiring anyone whose name is on the Department of Children's Services (DCS) registry,  the Department of Health's Abuse of Vulnerable Persons registry; or the TBI's sex offender registry.

The report also says school "child sexual abuse" policies are too vague across the state, which makes it hard enforce reporting abuse. However, Hamilton County was credited a descriptive policy in place. Hamilton County's police states all school  employees have a duty to report suspected child abuse immediately to the appropriate authorities. If an employee is suspected of child sexual abuse or does not properly report the abuse, the school must then report that employee to DCS and the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources.

The comptroller's office says it's also important for children to know how about body safety and how to report abuse. They say school districts aren't required to provide education on sexual abuse prevention. However, we're told 38 percent of schools statewide do provide it.

 

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