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OR Teachers Ask for Warnings About Troubled Students

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 By Chris ThomasContact
February 14, 2008

Salem, OR – School shootings and other tragedies that have made headlines across the country have Oregon teachers and school staff members asking the State Legislature for an additional measure of protection. They want to know when students in their care are in the juvenile justice system for conduct that would be considered criminal if they were adults.

The courts already notify school districts about some types of offenses, but district administrators are often prohibited, for privacy reasons, from passing the details along to their staff members. Educators testified this week in Salem in favor of a bill (SB 1092) to change that, including Ginger Redlinger, an Oregon City science teacher.

"I have students in my classrooms today that I know have issues, and I care deeply about them. I want to give them the best education possible, and help them set goals; and with more information, I'm able to do that better."

Redlinger says it's important to note that Oregon kids are safe in school, but she believes a change to the law would give the system a better opportunity to keep them that way.

"We feel if we had this information, which by law is now being kept from us, could help us make schools even safer than they already are."

The bill would require teachers and administrators to keep the information confidential, and would apply to both public and private schools. Introduced by Sen. Mark Hass (D-Beaverton) at the request of the Oregon Education Association, it will be debated on the Senate floor this week. A dozen other states already have similar laws in place.

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