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Contact: Brittany O'Neill / 609-847-3600
February 1, 2018
Pennacchio/Bucco Bill Stops Chronic Child Abusers Access to Students Passes Senate

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Will End Schools from “Passing the Trash” to Other Districts

Legislation led by Senators Joe Pennacchio (R-26) and Anthony Bucco (R-25) that will end the practice of “Passing the Trash,” preventing teachers who have abused children from moving from school to school unnoticed, was approved by the State Senate unanimously.

“Pass the Trash” legislation by Sen. Joe Pennacchio and Sen. Anthony Bucco. (©iStock)

“It is time to put the welfare of our students before union self-interest. The reckless behavior of underhandedly passing child abusers from school-to-school must end, ” said Pennacchio. “The Legislature and my Democratic colleges must see that continuing patterns of covering for a predator like Morris County teacher Jason Fennes, who confessed to sexually assaulting six young girls, snaked through school systems while teaching for five years after his first documented complaint must end. The structure for reporting and hiring teachers must be reformed!”

The legislation, S-414, targets the continuing problem of “passing the trash” in New Jersey school systems by mandating school districts, charter schools, and contract service providers to review all employment history of potential employees.

Schools fail to report abuse fearing the damage allegations may cause to their school’s reputation and the impact of a costly litigation that may accompany efforts to remove a teacher.

A recent NJ Advance Media investigation exposed Shawn Cier’s career of sexual misconduct while jumping from school to school. The report explained school systems were advised to give little information during reference checks, allowing Mr. Cier’s career to continue.

“It is reported that one in four young girls fall victim to abuse,” said Bucco. “Continuing to allow sexual predators to teach our students while schools fail to properly report an allegations is applauding. Schools must request all information when hiring new staff, not just dates employed, salaries, and position held. Providing a safe environment for children comes first and foremost.”

Pennacchio criticized the inaction of “Pass the Trash” legislation in the Assembly along with the introduction of A-2531, a bill which strips the important protections for students and aids to the continued problem of child abusers being passed from school-to-school.

“It is appalling that actions are being taken to strip protections for our young students who are at risk of child abuse,” said Pennacchio. “I call on the Democrats in the Assembly to put aside the self-interests of others and place the interest of our children first.”

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