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SB-1456 School employment: Sexual Abuse-Free Education (SAFE) Act.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/18/2018 09:00 PM
SB1456:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 18, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  April 03, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 1456


Introduced by Senator Morrell
(Coauthors: Senators Bates and Wilk)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Choi and Lackey)

February 16, 2018


An act to add Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 45600) to Part 25 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Education Code, relating to school employment.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1456, as amended, Morrell. School employment: Sexual Abuse-Free Education (SAFE) Act.
(1) Existing law establishes a system of public elementary and secondary schools in this state and authorizes local educational agencies throughout the state to operate schools and provide instruction to pupils in kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive. Existing law prohibits a person who has been convicted of a violent or serious felony from being hired by a school district in a position requiring certification qualifications or supervising positions requiring certification qualifications. Existing law also prohibits a school district from employing or retaining in employment a person who has been convicted, or who has been convicted following a plea of nolo contendere, of any sex offense, as defined.
This bill, the Sexual Abuse-Free Education (SAFE) Act, would prohibit a school entity, defined as a school district, county office of education, charter school, or private or parochial school, from knowingly hiring a person as an a certificated employee or independent contractor in a position involving direct contact with children, as defined, children, if the person was determined by a current or former employer, as the result of an investigation, to be responsible for an act of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child, as defined. The bill would require an applicant to provide, on a standard form developed by the State Department of Education, specified information about the applicant’s employment history and allegations, investigations, or findings of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child by the applicant to the school entity before the school entity makes an offer of employment with direct contact with children. pupil, unless the allegations of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a pupil were subsequently determined to be false.
The bill would require a school entity to obtain from the current and former employers of the applicant specified information, including, among other things, whether the applicant was the subject of an investigation concerning child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child by an employer, state licensing agency, law enforcement agency, or child protective services agency. The bill would immunize a school entity, school entity official, or other employer from require, when a school entity makes an offer of employment to an applicant for a certificated position involving direct contact with children, and before the applicant may accept the offer, the school entity to contact the superintendent of a school district, or his or her designee, or the equivalent chief executive officer of a charter school or private school, for each of the school entities by which the applicant has been employed, and obtain specified information about the applicant in writing. The bill would provide that school entities and school entity officials would not be subject to civil or criminal liability for the disclosure of information pursuant to these provisions unless the information was disclosed with the knowledge that it was false. The bill
The bill, pursuant to specified statutes, would authorize the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to suspend or revoke the credential of discipline, or take an adverse action against, a certificated school administrator who willfully fails to disclose the information required pursuant to these provisions. The bill would also require, when a school entity makes an offer of employment to an applicant for a certificated position involving direct contact with children, and before the applicant may accept the offer, the school entity to require the applicant to provide a declaration in writing that he or she has not been determined by a current or former employer, as the result of a voluntary resignation or investigation, to be responsible for an act of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a pupil.
The bill would authorize a school entity to hire an applicant for a position involving direct contact with children on a provisional basis for up to 90 days while the disclosure process established by these provisions is pending, provided that specified requirements are met. The bill would prohibit a collective bargaining agreement, termination agreement, severance agreement, or other contract entered into after January 1, 2019, from preventing the disclosure of any information related to child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child, affecting the ability of the school entity to report child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child, or requiring the school entity to expunge information relating to child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child from any document, unless the allegations of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child are determined to be false.
Because the bill would require school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to comply with additional requirements before hiring new employees, and to disclose information about former employees who are applicants for certificated positions at other school entities, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(2) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 45600) is added to Part 25 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Education Code, to read:
CHAPTER  6. Sexual Abuse-Free Education (SAFE) Act

45600.
 This chapter shall be known, and may be cited, as the Sexual Abuse-Free Education (SAFE) Act.

45601.
 (a) (1)A school entity shall not knowingly hire a person as an a certificated employee or independent contractor in a position involving direct contact with children if the person was determined by a current or former employer, as the result of an investigation, to be responsible for an act of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child. pupil, unless the allegations of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a pupil were subsequently determined to be false.

(2)Notwithstanding any other law, a school entity shall comply with the disclosure requirements described in this section before hiring an employee or independent contractor in a position involving direct contact with children.

(b) Before (1) When a school entity makes an offer of employment to an applicant for a certificated position involving direct contact with children, and before the applicant may accept the offer, the school entity shall require the applicant to provide, on a standard form developed by the department, all of the following information: contact the superintendent of the school district, or his or her designee, or the equivalent chief executive officer of a charter school or private school, for each of the school entities by which the applicant has been employed, and obtain all of the following information in writing:
(A) The dates of employment of the applicant.
(B) Whether the applicant was the subject of a substantiated investigation concerning child abuse or sexual misconduct with a pupil and the allegations were not determined to be false.
(C) Whether the applicant was accused of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a pupil and a substantiated investigation was not initiated or completed.
(D) Whether the applicant had a license or certification suspended or revoked while allegations of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a pupil were pending or due to a finding of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a pupil.
(2) If a school entity contacted pursuant to this subdivision possesses information related to the subject matter of subparagraphs (A) to (D), inclusive, of paragraph (1), that school entity shall share it with the requesting school employer.
(3) A school entity or school entity official shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability for the disclosure of information pursuant to this chapter unless the information was disclosed with the knowledge that it was false.
(4) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), a certificated school administrator who willfully fails to disclose information as required pursuant to this chapter may be disciplined by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing pursuant to Section 44421 or may be subject to an adverse action pursuant to Section 44242.5.
(c) When a school entity makes an offer of employment to an applicant for a certificated position involving direct contact with children, and before the applicant may accept the offer, the school entity shall require the applicant to provide a declaration in writing that he or she has not been determined by a current or former employer, as the result of a voluntary resignation or investigation, to be responsible for an act of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a pupil.
(d) For purposes of this chapter:
(1) A “school entity” is a school district, a county office of education, a charter school, or a private or parochial school.
(2) A “substantiated investigation” means a fair and objective inquiry consistent with the principles of due process, which will include the right to specific notice of the charges against the accused, an explanation of the employer’s evidence, and an opportunity to respond to the charges before being deprived of the property interest of his or her employment.

(1)The name, address, telephone number, and other relevant contact information for the applicant’s current employer, all school entities where the applicant was formerly employed, and all former employers where the applicant had direct contact with children.

(2)A written authorization for the current and former employers of the applicant to disclose information and release records about allegations, investigations, or findings of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child by the applicant. The authorization shall release the current and former employers from liability for disclosing that information or releasing those records.

(3)A written statement that includes all of the following:

(A)Whether the applicant was the subject of an investigation concerning child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child by an employer, state licensing agency, law enforcement agency, or child protective services agency. An investigation of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child where the allegations were determined to be false is not required to be reported by this subparagraph.

(B)Whether the applicant was disciplined, was discharged, was asked to resign, resigned, did not have his or her employment renewed, or was separated from employment while under investigation for child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child.

(C)Whether the applicant had a license or certification suspended or revoked while allegations of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child were pending or due to a finding of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child.

(c)(1)When a school entity receives the information described in subdivision (b), the school entity shall conduct a review of the employers identified by the applicant and obtain the following information from those employers:

(A)The dates of employment of the applicant.

(B)A written statement that includes all of the following:

(i)Whether the applicant was the subject of an investigation concerning child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child by an employer, state licensing agency, law enforcement agency, or child protective services agency. An investigation of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child where the allegations were determined to be false is not required to be reported by this subparagraph.

(ii)Whether the applicant was disciplined, was discharged, was asked to resign, resigned, did not have his or her employment renewed, or was separated from employment while under investigation for child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child.

(iii)Whether the applicant had a license or certification suspended or revoked while allegations of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child were pending or due to a finding of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child.

(2)(A)A current or former employer of an applicant shall disclose to the school entity that is considering employment of the applicant, on a standard form developed by the department, all of the information described in paragraph (1) no later than 20 days after it receives the request from the school entity. The completed form shall be made available to the public.

(B)If the information received from a current or former employer of the applicant indicates that the applicant was subject to an allegation, investigation, or disciplinary action relating to child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child, the school entity shall request the current or former employer to provide additional information and all relevant records relating to the incident. The current or former employer shall provide the requested information to the school entity no later than 60 days after it receives the request.

(d)For purposes of a substitute employee, the requirements described in this section shall apply only to the initial hiring of the substitute employee by a school entity.

(e)Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require a school entity to comply with the requirements described in this section when an existing employee of the school entity transfers to a different position within the school entity.

(f)For purposes of this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1)“Child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child” means both of the following:

(A)“Child abuse or neglect,” as defined in Section 11165.6 of the Penal Code.

(B)A “sex offense,” as defined in Section 44010, committed against a pupil.

(2)“Direct contact with children” means the possibility of care, supervision, guidance, or control of children, or routine interaction with children.

(3)“School entity” means a school district, county office of education, charter school, or private or parochial school.

45602.

(a)A school entity, school entity official, or other employer shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability for the disclosure of information pursuant to this chapter unless the information was disclosed with the knowledge that it was false.

(b)Pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 44420) of Chapter 3, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing may suspend or revoke the credential of a certificated school administrator who willfully fails to disclose the information required pursuant to this chapter.

45603.

While the disclosure process established in Section 45601 is pending, a school entity may hire an applicant for a position involving direct contact with children on a provisional basis for up to 90 days, provided that all of the following requirements are satisfied:

(a)The applicant provides the school entity with the information described in subdivision (b) of Section 45601.

(b)The school entity has no knowledge of any information that would make the applicant ineligible for employment.

(c)The applicant affirms that he or she is not ineligible for employment.

(d)The applicant is prohibited from working alone with children and works in the immediate vicinity of a regular employee of the school entity.

45604.45602.
 A collective bargaining agreement, termination agreement, severance agreement, or other contract entered into after January 1, 2019, shall not prevent the disclosure of any information related to child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child, affect the ability of the school entity to report child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child, or require the school entity to expunge information relating to child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child from any document, unless the allegations of child abuse or sexual misconduct with a child are determined to be false.

SEC. 2.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.