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05 August 2011

Denison: Student Protection Bill Becomes Law, District Directory

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Student Protection Bill to Become Law

In a previous report I mentioned the governor’s flurry of bill signing activity leading up to the July 14 deadline. Included in that list of signed bills is a piece of legislation [SB54] that creates the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act to protect students from being sexually abused by school employees. The legislation addresses an issue in current employment law that causes school districts to hesitate to share information regarding former employees for fear of a lawsuit. The lack of information sharing has allowed some teachers with a history of sexual abuse to transfer to other schools where administrators, parents, and students may not be aware of their background.

The Amy Hestir Student Protection Act will allow school districts in Missouri to discuss information about their employees with other school districts. It also makes school districts liable for damages if they dismiss an employee or allow an employee to resign for reasons of sexual misconduct, and then fail to disclose those reasons in a reference request from another school district. The bill also prohibits a teacher from online communications with a current or former student in ways that aren’t accessible to district administrators and the parents of the student. In addition, the bill creates a task force charged with making recommendations to the governor, General Assembly, and State Board of Education on ways to reduce child sexual abuse.

District Directory

The 2011-2012 District Directory for the 135th District will be arriving in your mailbox very soon. The directory contains an up-to-date listing of government agencies, officials, addresses and telephone numbers. Also included, you will find contact information for the City of Springfield, Greene County officials, Springfield R-XII Board of Education, and schools in the district. You will also find a pull-out section in the center of the directory of successful bills and resolutions that were Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed during the 2011 legislative session.

In the District

I met with the new Southwest District Engineer, Becky Baltz, P.E., this past week, and progress is coming along on Route 65, and should be open within two to three weeks, around the end of August.

Footing for the sound barriers along Route 65 in Springfield is being installed, and this will be a process that will last several months. You will see equipment entering and leaving the work area. The new sound walls are a result of the widening of Route 65 to six lanes between Route 60 and I-44 in Springfield.

Interim Office Hours

Interim office hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Normal schedule will resume December 1, 2011. If you need to call me at home, my number is 417-887-3353.

I look forward to hearing from you. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Best wishes.

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