The JBAC Petition
We deplore the sexual, physical, and emotional abuse of children, no matter where it occurs - the home, school, house of worship, anywhere. We are anguished that the lives of many abused children are destroyed by serious mental disorder, disease, drugs, alcohol, and suicide. We are dismayed that New York State has the weakest laws in the country for protecting religious and nonpublic school children. We advocate that all of the child protection laws and regulations applicable to public school children be extended to the religious and nonpublic schools. 1. All religious and nonpublic schools should be legally required to fingerprint and background check their employees. 2. All employees should be mandatory reporters of abuse to law enforcement and child protection authorities. 3. No corporal punishment. 4. Abusive employees should be disciplined, including suspension, and termination. 5. Silent resignations of abusive employees must end. 6. All teachers should be qualified; 7. A single registry of abusive public and nonpublic school employees should be maintained; 8. All religious and nonpublic schools should be subject to the same safety laws, including mandatory safety plans, and mandatory safety equipment (e.g., defibrillators), that govern public schools. 9. Unfair statutes of limitations should be extended so that abusers and their enablers can be held accountable. There are approximately, 475,000 children attending New York’s 1,900 religious and nonpublic schools, about 15 per cent of the total number of all kindergarten through 12th grade students. Our yeshivas, parochial schools, and all nonpublic schools should be safe, secure, abuse-free environments, reasonably monitored and regulated by our state government. Nationwide, there are, approximately, 5 million children attending 28,000 religious and nonpublic schools in the United States, about 10 per cent of the total number of students. We additionally urge the Congress, and all states, to enact legislative and regulatory reform that will protect all of our nation's children who attend religious and nonpublic schools.