Speculation and Federalism

With regard to my earlier post on the AP report about sexual misconduct in schools, Petulant just sent me this video of MSNBC's coverage of the report:

On the one hand, it's great that they point out the majority of these cases aren't ever reported in the first place, and why they aren't—but on the other hand, it's crappy that they use that as a springboard to engage in speculation framed to suggest it's, of course, a plague.

Experts on this say that most of these cases, or many of these cases, go unreported. Either the young people who are the victims are afraid or ashamed or they don't want to get the teacher in trouble, or, when they do report this, it is lost in the records because the administrators or the principals don't take any action on it. So, you're right, these figures probably represent a fraction, how big a fraction we don't know, of the total number of these.
Also, at one point, he says that the majority of victims are "female teachers," and I'm almost certain he must have meant "female students." Big difference.

One other interesting note I meant to mention in my earlier post, and this clip reminded me: One of the roadblocks to preventing "pass the trash" movement of sexual predator teachers from school to school is that every state tends to have its own system for background checks, both what it offers to schools soliciting information and what it asks for when doing checks of its own. There are no national standards, and no national database for educators having engaged in sexual misconduct of any sort. It's easy to move from state to state without one knowing what happened in the last if charges weren't pursued. Complicating matters is that the age of consent varies from state to state, so what would have been a prosecutable crime in the new state might merely have been ethically wrong in the old state.

That's the fun of federalism—which our friendly neighborhood conservatives have often argued is the miracle cure to all our problems.

Yeah, not so much.

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