SAN JOSE, Calif. (BCN) - A proposed senate bill calls on legislators to prohibit local agencies from hiring any person with a history of child abuse or sexual misconduct, and it has been inspired by cases like that of Presentation High School, according to the sponsoring non-profit.
Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation is asking lawmakers to create stricter language to eliminate educational institutions to quietly resign when they are reported for abuse, allowing them to go on to another school without their knowledge, or "pass the trash."
Senate Bill 1456 would stop the schools that have not reported these educators from concealing the person's history of misconduct, according to S.E.S.A.M.E. President Terri Miller.
Two scenarios in which an alleged lack of reporting of sexual abuse or misconduct allowed "predators to silently shift school-to-school" have been referenced in connection with SB1456, including the local San Jose all-girls Presentation High School.
The advocacy group that has been publicizing a history of sexual misconduct going unreported since January against Presentation High School, MakePresSafe, issued a statement on March 16 that an unnamed parent had come forward with another case of inappropriate behavior not being documented.
This parent told MakePresSafe that Presentation High refused to report allegations against instructor Jeffrey Hicks to law enforcement, allowing him to finish out the school year and teach the during the summer of 2004 before his departure.
According to MakePresSafe, Hicks was hired as a science and sex education teacher at Stanbridge Academy in San Mateo, a school for students with learning disabilities, because he had a clean record.
The group stated that their reports indicated Hicks was placed on leave from Stanbridge Academy for exchanging Facebook messages with a student about masturbation. MakePresSafe also said that the head of Stanbridge found a CD on Hicks' desk containing pornographic content.
Hicks was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail for keeping child pornography at work and exchanging inappropriate messages with a 14 year old, according to MakePresSafe. He is now a registered sex offender.
Presentation High School spokesman Sam Singer said when contacted for comment the day the allegation surfaced that he found it interesting that the group had not only sent out their account hours after the the school announced record fundraising but also that the parent was not named or directly quoted.
Singer called the allegation "deceptive" and "fraudulent," denying all claims that Presentation High School had not followed all required protocols for reporting sexual assault or misconduct.
The spokesman stated that what happened with Hicks at Stanbridge Academy had nothing to do with Presentation High School.
"The Hicks case at Presentation High School is an all too common child endangerment scenario," Miller said in a statement. "Every parent deserves to send their children to school knowing they will be safe."
MakePresSafe is asking that legislators adopt the senate bill, as they represent Presentation High School alumnae sex abuse survivors and their supporters, they commented.
"When schools like Presentation High School place image and reputation ahead of student safety, laws are required to protect and keep California students safe," attorney Robert Allard said in a statement. Allard represents child sex abuse victims.