Senate Passes Legislation To Keep Convicted Felons Out Of Schools

Martin J. Golden

July 08, 2008


State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C, Brooklyn) today joined the New York State Senate today in passing legislation, sponsored by Senator Stephen Saland, to automatically decertify teachers and school officials who are convicted of a sex offense, and automatically revoke an administrator’s license upon a felony fraud conviction. The bills (S.8553, S.8554) reflect a three-way agreement between the Senate, the Assembly and the Governor.

"These measures are commonsense protections for vulnerable children and the taxpayers of New York State," said Senator Martin Golden. "When a school employee is convicted of a sex crime, there’s no question -- that individual should immediately be removed from any further contact from our children. Likewise, school administrators who steal and commit fraud have no place in our schools."

The new legislation requires District Attorneys to promptly notify the State Education Department (SED) when school teachers or officials are convicted of a sexual offense that requires them to register on the State’s sex offender registry. District Attorneys will also notify SED when an administrator is convicted of defrauding the government.

Under current law, when a school official is convicted, they are entitled to an administrative hearing to determine whether they should keep their certification. In some cases, these lengthy hearings can keep employees who have been convicted on the payroll for extended periods of time, with taxpayers footing the bill. Since the convicted individual has already been given due process in the court system, another hearing is redundant and a waste of taxpayer money.

The bills were sent to the Assembly.