The recent editorial “An Education Horror Show”, written about my little state of Rhode Island, was absolutely spot on. But it missed one other important education story out of Little Rhody that reinforces what the WSJ’s editorial board so aptly describes as “government and union neglect.”
Rhode Island is one of a hand full of states that does not have a law against sexual relationships between teachers and students and a bill that would have finally changed that failed to pass, again, this year. The state attorney general’s office has confirmed that under current law, it is perfectly legal for a teacher or school bus driver to sexually touch a 14-year-old student and sexually penetrate a 16-year-old student as long as he or she has given “consent.” All sane people know that a child cannot consent to an adult in a position of authority—especially not a teacher.
The teachers’ unions opposed the bill right out of the gate on the grounds that it is unfair to “single out teachers and school employees.” Both the local union affiliates went on the record in opposition to the bill. While there was a long overdue glimmer of hope when the bill passed overwhelmingly in the House on the last night of the session, hope turned to the usual disgust when we learned that there was no companion bill in the Senate.
No matter how many times Rhode Island’s power players say they care about protecting children, don’t believe them. They may like kids but they love union money more.
Cumberland, Rhode Island