Should Teachers Have Access to Student Criminal Histories?

News 2011/06/13 22:36:41
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Texas is close to enacting a law that would give teachers access to detailed information about the criminal histories of their students. Is this a good way to protect teachers from student violence?

The legislation, spurred by the fatal stabbing of a high school teacher in Tyler in 2009, is adding to a national debate over whether teacher safety should outweigh the rights of young offenders, who traditionally have moved through the juvenile justice system with their privacy protected.

The new disclosure rules were passed by legislators with little public attention last month. A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry said the governor is "thoughtfully" reviewing the measure before deciding whether to sign it.

Many juvenile justice experts oppose the new disclosures, saying that they would undercut the purpose of youth corrections — allowing young people to move beyond early mistakes to lead normal lives. But many educators insist that teachers are in too much danger.

Could this law make a difference or is it unfair to students?

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Top Opinion

  • Texas Johnny 2011/06/13 23:03:56
    Texas Johnny
    Speaking as a teacher, I need to know who is a violent offender in my class room. I could care less if the kid stole something. It is the violent ones you got to look out for!

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  • Brosia - KarmaRaven 2011/09/27 00:59:07
    Brosia - KarmaRaven
    I think it would provide a measure of security for everyone that has to deal with a child that might have a violent outburst.
  • Kim 2011/06/27 14:10:41
    I have been in the position of teaching a group of elementary school students before (it was just for fun..but it was still teaching). As long as the teachers are not the type to pick on the student and discriminate, it is very wise for them to have complete access to their students' criminal histories so that they roughly know what to expect from the child and they are prepared on how to react and communicate with him/her. It would really help the child improve and become a better person if the teacher does extensive research and knows how to get around the child.
  • apachehellfire65 2011/06/14 23:27:20
    teachers no! school administrators yes. but only for major offences
  • Delta 2011/06/14 23:13:31
    I believe that if someone is dangerous, no matter what the age they are a definite risk and the people in charge of that person should be aware of that risk, but I don't know if some wimpy teachers could handle a student who has this background.
  • Orangedragan 2011/06/14 20:47:29
    I think a teacher has the right to know if one of their children is willing and able to commit crimes.
  • Common Sense Conservative 2011/06/14 20:44:45
    Common Sense Conservative
    All you have to do is go into a few websites and you can do a search on anyone. It will tell you everything that is public knowledge.
  • Jay K 2011/06/14 20:16:58
    Jay K
    I really want an undecided for this. I mean, what if you have nonviolent charges and your teacher uses this against you still? Maybe they should be notified of violent charges, but to have access to of all your criminal activities,both violent and non-violent, seems like a breach of privacy.
  • FYI 2011/06/14 19:35:38
    It may actually help as a deterrent to future crimes by the student, when they begin to realize that their actions have consequences that can follow them for a long time, and can be publicly embarrassing,and are not a badge of honor or "street cred", maybe some of them will think twice.
    I'd rather see an embarrassed little punk than a dead teacher.
  • Rudy 2011/06/14 19:25:58
    definitely, this should be a must so the teachers knows in advance what to expect.
  • erin 2011/06/14 19:00:12
    As a teacher myself, I second and completely agree with Texas Johnny's comment!
  • sockpuppet 2011/06/14 18:41:43
    Sure... why not? "Youth corrections" doesn't perform particularly well, anyway.
  • dawn 2011/06/14 18:38:30
    Only if the teachers union agrees to a binding agreement that if the teacher discriminates against the student because of this knowledge, that the teacher will be fired. Wait- how do you prove that this has happened. Last week there was a video circulating about a 63 yr. old teacher who stood up to a young punk who was towering over her, yelling disgusting things at her- She punched him and she was suspended. He had spit on the window and wouldn't clean it up when she told him to. What about the students becoming more and more disrespectful of authority? This is a problem which will get worse and worse if teachers aqre not allowed to discipline students.
  • FluffyCupcakespanker~PWCM~JLA 2011/06/14 18:17:20
    Absolutely not! Can see that info spread all over
  • Sammy 2011/06/14 17:37:24
    Thats way too personal.
  • Resp 2011/06/14 17:37:23 (edited)
    Why not? Parents have access to teacher's criminal records and any sexual offenses. Fair is fair.
  • authorgirl Resp 2011/06/14 17:59:37
    actually i don;t think they do....
  • Resp authorgirl 2011/06/14 20:47:18
    Sure they do. Anyone can inquire about a teacher's background and criminal history.
  • authorgirl 2011/06/14 17:29:38
    it's not the teacher's business what crimes their students have been in. sure ,put it on their permanent record, but the teacher has no right to know. thats what schools for troubled kids are for, make one of those instead.
  • Assault 2011/06/14 17:27:56
    Absolutely not. Can we please please please stop violating students rights? ( I Know they have less than none)
  • William... Assault 2011/06/14 18:08:15
    William Weber
    Im a student,i dont feel like my rights are violated if a teacher wants to know if shes in danger or not.
  • Assault William... 2011/06/14 18:29:45
    I'm a student as well. I expect some kind of privacy still, a teacher has no right at all to know what goes one outside of my school life. I have to be in that hell hole 8 hours a day, once I am out of it is none of their business.
  • William... Assault 2011/06/14 19:57:04
    William Weber
    i dont know about your state ,but in oklahoma you have the choice to drop out at 16.and if you choose to stay in school you only have what 1 or 2 years left,i have like 4 years left as i am going into the 9th grade.
  • Assault William... 2011/06/14 20:21:10
    We can drop out at 16 after sophomore year, I only have a year left, yet I still care about my privacy. I know to many teacher who will easily abuse this, and point it out in class, or use it against them. I already can't wear a shirt that says Legalize Marijuana in my school, its a damn shirt. Why would I want to give them even more power to abuse?
  • Abort A Liberal, Save A Life. 2011/06/14 17:18:49
    Abort A Liberal, Save A Life.
    And vice versa. If I'm not comfortable with the teacher's past, then they can't teach my kid.
  • Stan Kapusta 2011/06/14 17:16:53
    Stan Kapusta
    They should know who they are dealing with. On the positive side a teacher can help the kid.
  • Jan 2011/06/14 17:15:44
    Of course they should so that a teacher can decide if he or she is comfortable teaching a student who has committed a certain crime. Teachers have to be held to scrutiny so why not a criminal student?
  • Teancum79 2011/06/14 17:13:59
    I have mixed feelings but given all of the ways public school are taking over as parents this seems to be the least of the offenders.
  • Riverama 2011/06/14 16:34:16
    It will be a matter of time, before the whole school knows about it, and the student gets singled out, making it even a more dangerous situation.
  • CRAZYDEVIL514 2011/06/14 16:17:25
  • Jetti1 2011/06/14 16:10:49
    At what age should we start giving the teachers access? Ha Ha! This is rediculas and another sigh of our paranoid society. What I want to know is will this information affect the students grades? Get real people... all we need are teachers judging stdents... that's what Judges are for... Teachers would need to have more education to be qualified to Judge.
  • Mr. Smith 2011/06/14 15:56:40
    Mr. Smith
    No, I think the parents of the students should have access to the teacher's criminal and employment history.
  • Resp Mr. Smith 2011/06/14 17:37:55
    They do!
  • Mr. Smith Resp 2011/06/14 18:16:30
    Mr. Smith
    Good, I'll be asking for that when my oldest starts Kindergarten next year.
  • AndyAnduer 2011/06/14 15:55:25 (edited)
    School is an education center for learning children, not a detention center for burning them. You can't have both. Parent and teachers need to get together and talk over solutions .
  • Resp AndyAnduer 2011/06/14 17:38:23
    Students are getting burned? Where?
  • Eric 2011/06/14 15:52:19
    Great question. Access to criminal histories should be unnecessary because violent individuals should not be in public classrooms. How does this even happen? Access would provide a false sense of security as a student that up-to-now never committed a violent act always has a first time. Better to have procedures in place to 1)keep out the violent, and 2)react properly when violence happens.
    Let's not criminalize before their time.
  • Prime Time Lime 2011/06/14 15:46:26
    Prime Time Lime
    They should have no authority to access this information and is an infringement on ones privacy.It is a bad decision for Texas to allow it,but that state has made many judicial mistakes in the past and still is making bad decisions.
  • Kei 2011/06/14 15:43:55
    It wouldn't be needed IF those Youth Correction actually worked. The system failed, now its time to protect ourselves from these illegitimate Problem Children.
  • NA 2011/06/14 15:38:22 (edited)
    This will cause teachers to have a huge bias against students in their class. If a student has a criminal record then the teacher will treat them more harshly for their actions and even perhaps their marks compared to other students who may not have a criminal record. Yes ok so the students could be violent but teachers can figure that out on their own. It is unfair for a student to be judged by their past and if they do change from their offence then the teacher shouldnt have to care about their criminal history.
  • bob 2011/06/14 15:23:27
    Got to protect those teachers

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