Senate approves bill aimed at helping schools avoid hiring teachers with a history of abuse

Published 10:28 am Friday, March 29, 2024

By McKenna Horsley

Kentucky Lantern


A House bill aimed at helping Kentucky schools avoid hiring sexual abusers gained passage in the Senate Wednesday.

Sponsored by House Education Committee Chairman Rep. James Tipton, House Bill 275 would require those seeking employment in schools to disclose if they were the subject of an allegation, investigation or disciplinary action within the past year involving abusive misconduct while working in a school.

Similar legislation was passed by the House during the last legislative session, but died in the Senate.

The Senate approved the bill 35-0.

Tipton, a Taylorsville Republican, filed his bill last year following an investigative series by the Lexington Herald-Leader that found sexual misconduct was the most common reason Kentucky teachers had their licenses revoked or suspended between 2016 to 2021. In that time, teachers in 118 of 194 cases lost their license because of sexual misconduct.

Earlier this session, Tipton said his bill would give “school districts the tools to ensure the safety of our children from predatory individuals.”

“These individuals are responsible for some of the most heinous crimes that we see involving students,” Tipton said. “They should not be allowed to harm our children and then move on to another school district to avoid punishment. HB 275 makes sure these individuals are held accountable, and that school districts have the information necessary to keep them out of the classroom.”

The Senate approved a committee substitute, meaning differences in the House bill must be resolved.