As cited in a recent editorial the Washington State Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that “the names of teachers must be disclosed only in sexual misconduct cases where the alleged misdeeds are substantiated.” This supports due process rights and protects teachers, who are quite vulnerable since they are working with children, from unsubstantiated claims of improper conduct.
This must be the fourth or fifth editorial saying the decision is wrong. However, I really can’t fathom why unsupported claims should be made public. If someone is arrested, then publish the name; an arrest means there has to be at least some sort of evidence of a crime. Otherwise, I think withholding the names is the proper course of action.
Since school officials already must report any suspicions of abuse to the proper authorities, I’m not sure why this is such an issue. The local police force should be doing the investigating any way, not school officials.
I don’t see any value in publishing every accusation or allegation. What does this accomplish, especially if there is no evidence? Does any profession publish every claim, namely the unsubstantiated ones?
By the way, Ryan at Washington Teachers blogged about this in a very well-written post on Saturday.