Aiming to halt predators in schools, ‘passing the trash’ measure stalls in Pa.

    A Pennsylvania lawmaker is frustrated that his bill to prevent child abuse in schools has been mothballed by the state House.

     

    The measure aims to end what’s called “passing the trash,” said state Sen. Anthony Hardy WiIliams, D-Philadelphia.

    “Known adults, who have been involved in sexual misconduct with children have been caught at schools — but because parents choose not, don’t want to, and frankly want to protect their children, they don’t want to engage in the judicial system — and are allowed to escape without penalty or consequence,” Williams said.

    Under his plan, schools would take on a more rigorous background check process.

    While the plan has passed the Senate, and cleared a House committee last fall, it hasn’t budged since.

    The bill hasn’t advanced because one House member is considering an amendment to strengthen the background check requirement, according to a spokesman for the House GOP.

    Williams touted his proposal along with a federal bill being pushed by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, which would change the background checks process for teachers and other school employees in contact with kids.

    “Under current law in Pennsylvania, a background check is done but if the person being checked has been a resident of Pennsylvania for two years or more, then the only check that’s done is on the state criminal records,” Toomey said. “There is no check of federal criminal records, and there could be untold federal crimes that would go undiscovered.”

    The proposal would also require periodic background checks,Toomey said. Right now, the checks happen just once.

    The measure would also make it a crime to recommend a known pedophile to a school in another state.

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