In response to a Saratoga Springs school bus driver’s recent arrest for accusations that he sexually abused two boys, I’m taking action to better protect children. The school district was unable to learn that, dating back to 2002, the man had appeared on a state-run registry of possible child abusers. I will introduce legislation to close that loophole.
When I learned about the arrest and the fact that school officials were unable to access a state registry that could have alerted them to his having been flagged as a potential danger to youths back in 2002, I saw a glaring loophole that cried out for immediate closure.
As helpful a tool as the State’s Central Registry is, it could be even more effective if a representative on behalf of a school was allowed to access it. It seems counterproductive to deny schools access to this registry, as doing so keeps important information out of the hands of the very people who should know if someone’s been flagged as a potential child abuser. Clearly, there is a compelling interest in school nurses – the health care professionals specifically trained to recognize signs of abuse, physical or otherwise, among students – having access to the registry.
That’s why my legislation would add school nurses to the category of individuals who can access the State Central Registry.