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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

AP Sexual Misconduct Story Raises Issues in Maine...

Gov. John Baldacci admitted Tuesday that a state statute aimed at protecting the confidentiality of educators who are stripped of, or denied, teaching certificates ultimately fails to protect the public.

As part of an in-depth probe into sexual misconduct in schools, The Associated Press recently tried to obtain teacher decertification records from Maine’s Department of Education.

The AP, which uncovered countless cases of abuse across the country during its seven-month investigation, even submitted a Freedom of Access request to gain access to Maine records.

The state DOE, however, denied that request, citing a law that prohibits the release of any information related to why teacher certificates have been suspended, revoked or denied.

Baldacci said the law clearly needs to be revisited.

"We have one of the most thorough systems in the country when it comes to background checks and fingerprinting teachers to protect the safety and well-being of our students in Maine," the governor said in a statement Tuesday. "The way it stands right now, a teacher in Maine can commit a noncriminal inappropriate act and have their license revoked without having that information released to other states. We need to change that policy to protect not only the children of Maine, but children in other states as well."

More here.

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