In the past four months, a top local school administrator was arrested and placed on administrative leave for “drunken driving in a publicly owned vehicle.” Also, two teachers were “placed on administrative leave after being charged with illegal sexual activities involving children.”
All three incidents occurred in the Lower Yakima Valley.
Additionally, last month, the Assistant Principal of Moses Lake High School was placed on leave for “allegations of misconduct with students that school officials there refuse to talk about.” And, in Coulee Dam, the Assistant Principal of Lake Roosevelt Elementary School was placed on “paid leave after being charged with possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, sexual exploitation of a minor, and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.”
Notice, all offenders were placed on “administrative leave.” That means they are still receiving paychecks on the taxpayer’s dime.
The incidents highlight an important difference between the private and public sectors. As the Daily Sun News put it:
In the real world, illegal activities at work gets a person fired, or at the very least suspended without pay. But not in the public sector.
Yes, all three of the aforementioned individuals are innocent until proven guilty. And, yes, all three are under contract with their respective school districts.
But that shouldn’t mean public employees should have carte blanche to engage in illegal activity and get paid for it.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of stories like this is that public employees — by the very nature of their jobs — should be held to higher standards than those in the private sector. Again, the Daily Sun News:
Public employees should be held to a higher standard than private sector CEOs, managers and others who commit crimes. Public employees should forfeit pay, retirement and other benefits if they use their position in the commission of a crime. It’s time we derail this sordid gravy train and stop the free passes for public employees.
Of course, derailing this “sordid gravy train” requires loosening the grasp of public employee unions that insist on protecting employees who demonstrate a lack — to say the least — of character.