Education

‘Nightline’ Focuses On a Lingering Problem: Teacher Sexual Predators

By Mark Walsh — April 14, 2017 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

ABC News “Nightline” devoted its entire half hour the other night to a report it called “Passing the Trash,” which anchorman Dan Harris described as “the problem of school administrators unloading problematic teachers onto other schools by hiding allegations of sexual misconduct. Sometimes even providing recommendations, and then looking the other way.”

It’s not a new story. Education Week reported on the issue extensively in an award-winning series, “A Trust Betrayed,” in 1998 and 2003. But that’s not meant as a criticism of “Nightline.” Sadly, the problem persists, with a small minority of teachers and other school employees victimizing students, being allowed to move along, and then harming more students.

“Nightline” correspondent Amy Robach interviews two alleged victims in New Mexico of a 4th grade teacher, 10 years after the girls encountered the teacher, who was allegedly allowed to move on to several other districts. (The teacher, who is identified in the report, was never charged in the case, though New Mexico’s attorney general appears to say that the state may be reviving the case. The teacher declined “Nightline”'s interview requests, but his lawyer appears on camera to deny the allegations.)

“It’s the easy way out,” attorney David Ring, who is described as litigating cases for some 20 years on behalf of victims, tells Robach. “It’s the quickest, most efficient solution to get rid of a dangerous teacher.”

Robach laudably mentions a recent, yearlong investigation of “passing the trash” by USA Today reporter Steve Reilly. (His series was a finalist for a Pulitizer Prize, as announced this week.) Reilly tells Robach that it is extremely rare for administrators who pass along sexual predators to be prosecuted.

In case you had not been paying attention, “Nightline” long ago moved to a start time of roughly 12:37 a.m. Eastern time, where it competes with comedy shows such as “Late Night With Seth Meyers” on NBC and “The Late Late Show with James Corden” on CBS, not to mention with viewers’ sleep habits.

While it is long past its Ted Koppel glory years, the once-formidable news show still does some good work, including the “Passing the Trash” segments.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!


Content provided by Panorama
Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Tiny Wrists in Cuffs: How Police Use Force Against Children
An investigation finds children as young as 6 and a disproportionate amount of Black children have been handled forcibly by police officers.
15 min read
Jhaimarion, 10, reacts as he listens to his mother, Krystal Archie talking with an Associated Press reporter in Chicago on Sept. 23, 2021. Archie’s three children were present when police, on two occasions, just 11 weeks apart, kicked open her front door and tore through their home searching for drug suspects. She’d never heard of the people they were hunting. Her oldest child, Savannah was 14 at the time; her youngest, Jhaimarion, was seven. They were ordered to get down on the floor.
Jhaimarion, 10, reacts as he listens to his mother, Krystal Archie talking with an Associated Press reporter in Chicago on Sept. 23, 2021. Archie’s three children were present when police, on two occasions, just 11 weeks apart, kicked open her front door and tore through their home searching for drug suspects. She’d never heard of the people they were hunting. Her oldest child, Savannah was 14 at the time; her youngest, Jhaimarion, was seven. They were ordered to get down on the floor.
Nam Y. Huh/AP
Education Gunman in 2018 Parkland School Massacre Pleads Guilty
A jury will decide whether Nikolas Cruz will be executed for one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.
3 min read
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education Briefly Stated: October 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Gunman in Parkland School Massacre to Plead Guilty
The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Florida high school will plead guilty to their murders, his attorneys said.
4 min read
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP