OLYMPIA (July 31, 2012)—State Superintendent Randy Dorn today thanked Auditor Brian Sonntag for his audit regarding protecting children from sex offenders. The audit led Dorn to correct a long-standing error in how OSPI staff were implementing RCW 43.43.845, which took effect in 2005, before Dorn took office in 2009. This law requires the tracking of all school employees against quarterly data from the Washington State Patrol (WSP) to prevent convicted sex offenders from working in public schools. Previously, only certificated employees (such as teachers, counselors and nurses) were tracked.
“The instant this mistake was brought to my attention, I took action,” Dorn said. “Parents need to know that when they send their kids to school they will not come in contact with adults who could cause them harm.”
The audit was initiated in August 2011, and in September 2011, OSPI was notified that they were not fully implementing the law. Dorn then immediately directed his staff to begin screening all school employees, and he initiated a full investigation of all 650,000 current and former certificated and classified school employee records dating back to 2005, when the law was enacted. In addition, Dorn has directed OSPI staff to meet with WSP staff on an ongoing basis to regularly review the coordination of data and the corresponding processing of that data between the two agencies.
The audit and subsequent investigation requested by Dorn found that since 2005, no instances of convicted sex offenders working in our schools were found.
For more information about OSPI’s Office of Professional Practices, please visit http://www.k12.wa.us/ProfPractices.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.
OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.