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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Washington State Supremes Protect Teachers' From 'Stigmatization'

The state Supreme Court issued a ruling Thursday that pitted the fear of stigmatizing an innocent teacher against the threat of allowing sexual predators in the schools to escape detection.

The scenario before the court was this: A teacher is accused of sexually abusing a student. The school decides the allegation is unsubstantiated. Under state law, should the teacher's name be disclosed?

By a 6-3 vote, the court fell on the side of accused teachers. The names of teachers must be disclosed only in cases where sexual misconduct has been found or some form of discipline has taken place, the court ruled. In unsubstantiated cases, the details of any investigation may be disclosed — but with the teacher's name redacted, or blacked out.

The issue was brought before the court by 15 teachers from the Seattle, Bellevue and Federal Way school districts. The teachers asked the judiciary to prevent their districts from releasing their identities in response to a public-records request by The Seattle Times.

More here.

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