New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Murphy Must Sign Critical ‘Pass the Trash’ Bill

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News Reports Highlight Dangers of Failing to Sign Legislation to Protect Students from Sexual Abuse

In light of yesterday’s news that dozens of New Jersey teachers lost their licenses due to sexual abuse or related allegations last year, Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) strongly urges Governor Phil Murphy to immediately sign bipartisan legislation to end the practice of “passing the trash,” which will prevent predatory teachers from continuing to victimize innocent kids at a different school.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio urges Gov. Murphy to immediately sign critical “Pass the Trash” legislation. (Flickr)

“We must put the welfare of our students first,” Pennacchio said. “This legislation will stop the process of passing the trash, so that abusive teachers can’t simply travel around from school to school and continue to put innocent kids in harm’s way. There is no reason for Governor Murphy to not immediately sign this bill into law.”

Senator Pennacchio’s legislation, S-414, would require New Jersey school districts, charter schools, and contract service providers to review the employment history of potential employees.

The legislation unanimously passed both houses of the New Jersey Legislature in February. It now has sat on the Governor’s desk without action for nearly two months.

In 2017, more than 30 teachers lost their teaching licenses due to sexual abuse or sex-related allegations, according to the State Department of Education.

Multiple recent news reports have also demonstrated the need for Senator Pennacchio’s “pass the trash” legislation. A recent NJ Advance Media investigation shed light on the crimes of Jason Fennes, a Morris County teacher who confessed to sexually assaulting young girls. Fennes continued to teach for years, even after his first documented case of sexual abuse was reported.

Governor Murphy previously stated during a press conference that he was “disgusted” by the findings of NJ Advance Media’s investigation, and that he “vomited” after reading about the teachers who chronically sexually abused children.

“I agree with Governor Murphy that these reports are disgusting,” Pennacchio said. “The fact is that each day that we allow sexual predators to move from classroom to classroom, we are risking young lives. The Governor must do his part to end this cycle of abuse. I strongly encourage Governor Murphy not to waste any more time in signing this legislation.”

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