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Colorado lawmakers discuss requiring schools to inform parents of employee arrests

Posted at 7:30 PM, Mar 29, 2018

DENVER — Colorado lawmakers have tabled legislation that would require schools to notify parents of the arrests of teachers and school employees for certain crimes, prompted by a series of reports by Scripps station KMGH in Denver.

House Bill 18-1269, which has sponsors from both parties in both chambers of the legislature, faced its first hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee Thursday. The committee recommended a number of changes to the bill and tabled it without a vote. 

The bill requires school districts, charter schools, and local education providers to notify parents in writing within two days being informed of the arrest of an employee whose job involves contact with students. The requirement is limited to arrests for offenses that could require the denial, suspension or revocation of a teacher’s license – offenses that include sexual assault, unlawful sexual behavior and felony child abuse, among others.

The requirements would also apply to former employees who resigned or were terminated within one year of the charge being filed. The bill also requires schools to send follow-up notification if the employee is acquitted or if the charges are dismissed.

The bill's sponsors asked KMGH reporters to share findings exposing previously hidden arrests at Thursday’s hearing. 

KMGHs Parents in the Dark reports uncovered numerous arrests of teachers and school employees charged with sexual crimes against students that parents were not notified about, in some cases for months.

The bill's sponsors said they plan to make changes to its language to address the concerns raised by judiciary committee and hope to bring it back for another hearing in the coming weeks.