Governor Andrew Cuomo has now shut a loophole that may have allowed instances of sexual misconduct, at private schools in New York State, to go unreported to police. He signed it Friday.
The sexual assault survivor, and one of many driving forces behind this bill, has spoken out in regards to the news.
Senate Bill S-7372 makes staff at private high schools throughout New York into mandatory reporters of sexual misconduct on campus. It was already the law for public schools, and many private schools did report these incidents to police as a matter of school policy, but advocates have cited the closing of the loophole as an important step towards getting justice in all cases of campus sexual misconduct.
Cuomo released a statement on his signing of the bill.
"There is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of our children. With this bill, we are closing a frightening gap in the law and taking action to ensure all students in both public and private schools are protected from abuse. In New York, we will continue to do everything in our power to combat child abuse and keep our young people safe,” read the statement.
State Senator Patt Gallivan says he sponsored the bill in response to a disturbing report from the Nichols School in Buffalo. Released back in January, the school found administrators ignored sexual misconduct allegations against teachers dating back to the 1970's.
The school said it had since made fundamental changes to prevent future abuse. Under the new law, charter, state, and BOCES facilities will be required to report those accusations to police. It also expands the list of staff responsible for reporting those claims to include everyone from teachers aides to bus drivers.
The law goes into effect in June.