Sexual abuse of students in the New York City schools is exploding, yet New York State Assemblywoman Margaret Markey turns a blind eye to it. She recently introduced legislation, as she does annually, that exclusively targets private schools for cases of abuse that occurred a long time ago. The cover story in today’s New York Daily News reads, “Record 14 School Staff Busted Already: Readin’ Writin’ & Rikers.” It details crimes ranging from sexual abuse to assault (Rikers is a jail).
To his credit, New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott is cracking down. He reviewed 250 employee records dating to 2000 and is seeking to oust the guilty. But Walcott doesn’t have time to deal with old cases—he’s got an epidemic on his hands right now. For example, after a school aide was arrested February 10 for molesting a boy (boys are frequently the victims these days), we learned that he got a slap on the wrist for offensive sexual behavior in 2006.
Sexual molesters in the schools are not always given a mere oral reprimand—they are simply moved to another school. It happens so often in the public schools that it is called “passing the trash.” Last month, the New York Times did a story on Walcott’s efforts. “In two of the cases,” it reported, “the teacher or teacher’s aide had been found to have acted inappropriately with students at previous schools, but had been able to transfer. Education officials acknowledged on Friday that they had failed to notify the principals of the new schools of the earlier accusations.”
Any law that addresses the issue of the sexual abuse of minors that does not include the public schools is tantamount to a cover-up. That is why all eyes should turn to Assemblywoman Markey.
Contact Markey: MarkeyM@assembly.state.ny.us