Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) today announced that the State Assembly has passed legislation (S.5376-B) he sponsored earlier last month in the Senate to protect public employees who file suspected child endangerment reports.
Citing the highly publicized case in Middletown where a school employee was fired after turning in the Superintendent of Schools for possessing pornography, Senator Larkin said, "Clearly, there is a need to expand the kinds of actions that are covered under the current whistle blower statute to include protecting people who uncover information about someone who may be putting children at risk. This is particularly important for any employee who works in our local schools."
Under the current whistle blower statute, only information that "presents a substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety" is covered. Sen. Larkin’s bill would expand the scope of the law to include acts that could potentially endanger the welfare of a child, be it physical, mental or sexual abuse.
Further, for the first time, the bill would give the New York State Attorney General and local District Attorney jurisdiction to protect any public employee who turns in evidence relating to suspected child abuse.
Senator Larkin added, "I commend the Assembly for quickly acting on this important measure. It is my hope that the Governor will sign it into law without delay. Our public employees need this protection. But more importantly, the children need it more."