Teachers convicted of serious felonies would be automatically yanked from their classrooms, under a bill the House gave preliminary approval to. Caroline Noel has that story from the Capitol.
The legislation allows for teachers convicted of such felonies as murder, rape and sodomy to have their certification immediately revoked, speeding up what in the past has been a lengthy process of hearings and investigations.
Northern Missouri Representative Randall Relford sponsored the bill. He says there may be teachers who have slipped through the system.
Relford's bill follows on the heels of an executive order Governor Carnahan signed last December. Carnahan now requires the Department of Corrections to start notifying the education department when a teacher is convicted of serious felonies. The department had not previously been required to do so.
Reporting by the Kansas City Star last August may have led to the government's call to action. The Star exposed several Kansas City teachers who had been convicted of various felonies and were still teaching. According to the Star report, a lack of communication between schools, police and prosecutors allowed some teachers to continue working undetected or simply move to different school districts.
Represenative Relford confirms that last year alone the Department of Education looked into 70 cases of teachers with felonies in the school system. From Jefferson City this is Caroline Noel.