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The Oregon legislature passed a law on May 7 prohibiting school administrators from making deals that hide the sexual misconduct of teachers who resign.

These sorts of deals are so common that they have a nickname – passing the trash.

What happens is that an accused teacher is allowed to voluntarily resign from a school district without having the accusations investigated by the state’s teacher disciplinary board. Typically, the school district agrees to either provide a reference letter or to say something innocuous when asked – something like “he voluntarily resigned for personal reasons.”

It’s a good deal for the problem teacher and for the school district. The teacher gets to leave under a cloak of secrecy without having his teaching license affected, and the school district gets rid of a problem quietly and quickly.

But of course, for kids, it’s not a good deal at all. It can be devastating. The problem teacher can readily move to a new school district, in or out of Oregon, where he may abuse again and again.

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