How Public Unions Hurt Children

One of the more problematic aspects of public unions that has been discussed at OB&B is teachers unions protecting bad teachers. While this is troubling enough, there is an even worse consequence – protecting pedophiles: School’s culture failed to stop abuser

As a fifth-grade teacher, Laurence “Shayne” Hill was a pedophile hidden in plain view, strolling the hallways and playground with girls on his arm. Girls 10 or 11 years old would tousle his hair and tickle his belly. He’d massage their shoulders and whisper in their ears.

Hill himself described his typical target: “Bubbly, good-looking, not overconfident, not the prettiest in the class, available. They come to me.” Other teachers noticed this, of course: “Moths to a light bulb,” one said. Hill’s favorite girls seemed to have the same body type, same hair color, same eye color.

Hill’s behavior went beyond holding hands to fondling children. He ultimately admitted molesting up to 13 girls — and in 2005 was sentenced to five years to life.

In April, Seattle Public Schools settled a lawsuit filed on behalf of two of Hill’s victims for $3 million. Depositions, personnel files and other records from that lawsuit expose a school’s culture of fear and confusion, and they explain how Hill managed to remain a teacher for so long.

Far down near the bottom of this awful story, we finally get a little clarity into how a child predator could be allowed to remain in a position where he’d have such easy access to children:

A principal can document troubling incidents that don’t equate to child abuse. But under the current teachers’ contract, schools must destroy personnel files at the end of each year and start anew. Only records forwarded to the central office remain.

The vast majority of our teachers are decent people who care about their students and would never allow such abuse to happen, but their union places them in a position where they can’t protect students from criminal colleagues. I fail to see how this episode differs much from the criticisms of the Catholic Church. People like Michael Moore should be proud to defend a system that protects child abusers.

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