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EDEN PRAIRIE, MN—Representative Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, Chair of the House Education Finance Committee, issued the following statement following an investigative report that first aired Monday evening that found the Minnesota Board of Teaching failed to report to law enforcement numerous allegations of sexual misconduct by teachers. All current board members were appointed by Governor Dayton.
"Every single teacher in the state of Minnesota is mandated to report allegations of sexual misconduct to authorities. It's unconscionable that Governor Dayton's appointees at the Board of Teaching failed to do the same, sweeping these disturbing cases under the rug and potentially putting students in harm's way," Loon said. "In 2017, Republican-led reforms—opposed by Governor Dayton and Democrats—closed this loophole and ensured that the new Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB), as well as the Board of School Administrators (BOSA), will be obligated to report allegations moving forward."
As part of the sweeping, Republican-led reforms to Minnesota's teacher licensure process, the new PELSB and BOSA board are explicitly required to report allegations to law enforcement if they result in revocation, suspension, or loss of a teacher or administrator's license as result of inappropriate sexual conduct with a minor. Reforms to the teacher licensure process and the Board of Teaching were strongly opposed by DFL lawmakers, Education Minnesota, and the Dayton administration. At least one DFL lawmaker suggested that changes to the law were not needed during a Public Safety Committee hearing.
Loon called on the Governor to clarify whether his administration was aware of this process, and to work with lawmakers to ensure that the professionals he appoints entrusted to license teachers and educators place student safety above all else.
"If the Dayton administration was aware that the Board of Teaching was violating the trust of Minnesotans and failing to report serious allegations of sexual misconduct to authorities, the governor should explain immediately why they allowed this practice to take place. The Board of Teaching was made up of his appointees, and it's frankly disturbing that they felt it was appropriate to act as gatekeepers and hide these cases from law enforcement. We hope Governor Dayton will work with us to ensure it is crystal clear to his appointees that allegations must be forwarded to the proper authorities without delay. The individuals he appoints to the board have a legal and moral responsibility to do so and ensure the safety of our students."
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