Suicide in Utah 2012 – Life After Ministries https://lifeafter.org Leading Mormons to the REAL Jesus Mon, 12 Aug 2019 00:02:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.11 Suicide and Schools in Utah https://lifeafter.org/suicide-and-schools-in-utah/ https://lifeafter.org/suicide-and-schools-in-utah/#respond Sat, 26 Jan 2013 23:45:13 +0000 http://lifeafter.org/?p=12487 Schools in Utah – Part of the Suicide in Utah Series In the advent of our yearly celebration of Jesus’ birth I find myself rushing to complete the Vital Stats Report on Utah.  And as this happens every 24 months you’d think I’d get used to the results of my research, alas, that never occurs […]

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Schools in Utah – Part of the Suicide in Utah Series

kids-in-front-of-legislatureIn the advent of our yearly celebration of Jesus’ birth I find myself rushing to complete the Vital Stats Report on Utah.  And as this happens every 24 months you’d think I’d get used to the results of my research, alas, that never occurs for me. Ha!

While I’ve streamlined the format of this project over the years the more information we have readily at our fingertips the more evidence and fruits of Utah Mormonism become clearer still and throws a wrench into my lame attempt at brevity.

Part of me still holds out that little girl hope things in Utah will be better than the previous year and yet I see how much broader the negative influence has permeated the very fiber of most everything in Utah.  Thus, the length of the project seems to grow as I fight to compact it into one or two pages…sigh…and to prove my point as I was dotting the last “i” and crossing the final “t” a Google alert found its way into my inbox announcing that a charter school principle in Utah was arrested this week for the sexual abuse of several boys. http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/Ex-Utah-principal-arrested-in-child-sex-abuse-4090283.php

While the numbers for 2012 still aren’t tallied at the time of this writing (Dec 3, 2012) I felt it was worthwhile to publish my findings on the status of Utah’s schools.

I’m not here to be sensationalistic. There’s enough drama in this type of ministry without having to self manufacture more attention so understand me when I say I would give ANYTHING, at any time, to find a different result.  However I have to wonder; for how long will we as a society continue to tolerate the inexcusable behavior of adults that is forced upon young people in America?

Now while the vast majority of Americans aren’t Christian I truly believe there’s enough moral fiber collectively left in us to stand up to the wrongs in this world and say enough is enough.

As you’ll see in my report for 2012 suicides and the rape rate climb steadily higher and have historically ranked above the national average for decades now.  Utah still spends on average five times more for each prisoner every year than they do on each kid in public schools.  That is alarming!  In addition to that, Utah also has another notorious claim to fame. They have the highest percentage of prisoners who are incarcerated for sex crimes than anyone else in the nation.  Coincidence?  Yeah, I don’t think so.

School Problems in Utah

Most teachers are born with a personality wanting truth to be known and achieve this in a public forum via the classroom.

Truth isn’t as elusive as you might think, in fact it’s hiding in plain sight and ready to shine forth all on its own.  All we have to do is stand up!  Reading reports of serious infractions or hearing about shortcomings financial and otherwise can serve as our bugle call to action.  That’s what I’ve done here with my discoveries in the status of school problems in Utah.

As with the rest of the country, Utah’s still trying to recuperate from the recession and finds itself trying to play catch up with any ground lost fiscally and otherwise.

However, in the interim the LDS Church’s martyr syndrome is found in the leadership of their schools.  While they like to moan about the fact they sit at the very last place in America per pupil spending they also try to candy-coat reality by saying they’re in the top ten for graduation rates.  This isn’t true.

The truth is that Utah is in 51st place per pupil expenditure and their grades aren’t all that great. As a matter of fact Utah’s math, science and reading skills aren’t anything to write home to mom about and should stand out like a sore thumb to the residents who also have the highest birth rate in the country; more on that in the final report.  They also have a higher than national average for class size. Compare the national rate of 15.5 students per teacher to Utah’s 22.3 students per teacher rate over the past decade.http://www.schools.utah.gov/data/Fingertip-Facts.aspx

Overall something’s gotta give; either the birth rate or financially providing funding for the schools, hiring better teachers and/or coming up with better curriculum.

In the latest report available (2011) the board of education says Utah’s graduation rate is above the national average at 76% but a closer look tells a sad story.  The graduation rate for African Americans and Hispanics barely reached 61% and it only gets worse for American Indians who sit at a dismal rate of 57%.  With a new system of how the feds count rates for graduation, students per school, etc the new system has been used for this report.http://www.schools.utah.gov/data/Educational-Data/Graduation-Dropout-Rates/FinalCohortGrad2011b.aspx

http://www.schools.utah.gov/data/Educational-Data/Graduation-Dropout-Rates/GradRateAnalysesJan11.aspx

The watchdog group Utah Foundation, recently published findings of Utah’s scholastic status stating the difficulty in trying to compare Utah with other states to obtain where Utah ranks nationally. They reported that while Utah’s claim of high ratings in scholastic s has been above other states in various arenas this doesn’t hold true as of late.

They noted a couple of problems with trying to rank Utah w/ other states and the first thing they pointed out is worthy of attention.

Utah is primarily white, has a very low poverty rate and has a relatively strong proportion of college-educated parents.  Now there’s nothing wrong with that, it is what it is.  When you try to lump all states into a category of who did what in a given year, the totals may not be the best comparisons.

They cited that when you compare education stats with their economic peers across the nation, Utah’s not doing as well as you might think.  The comparisons show Utah ranking at or near the bottom of academic achievements. http://www.utahfoundation.org/img/pdfs/2012_priority_brief_2_k-12.pdf

It also makes a huge difference when Utah uses the same counting method of what constitutes a graduation rate. Utah ranked near the middle of other states (32nd) for overall graduation rates and came in close to the bottom of the pack amongst all other states for graduation rates of minorities – 4th from last with only Minnesota, Nevada and DC ranking below them.   http://www.schools.utah.gov/data/Educational-Data/Graduation-Dropout-Rates/FinalCohortGrad2011b.aspx

http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/elsi/expressTables.aspx

Utah Educators

Several years ago the AP did a piece on schools across the nation. The reporter found that having access to this public institution was like pulling teeth and ended up having to go to court just to investigate the status of teachers.  One of the subjects he wanted info for was cause of termination.  That seems like a reasonable request doesn’t it?  After all, we pay their salaries and they’re watching over our kids…this poor guy ended up fighting a battle he had no idea existed.

Thankfully common sense prevailed, access was granted to the public files and he discovered some astonishing facts.

He found that 25% of terminated teachers nationwide lost their license because of a sexual offense.

Not so in Utah.  More than 52% of teachers who were either suspended or received a revocation had been terminated for a sexual offense.

While I reported on this briefly in my 2010 Utah Vital Stat Report I thought it might be beneficial to see how, or if, the numbers had changed over the years. His study was done for the timeframe of 2000-2005.

I focused on 2006-2012 and my findings left me with a sick feeling I couldn’t shake, thus my article here.

Utah’s Board of Education will send UPPAC (Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission) a handful of cases to review each month for any license they haven’t taken action against either on a local or state level, thus the cases UPPAC reviews is only a small fraction of what goes on collectively.

Every month UPPAC meets to discuss events and goals of Utah’s schools. The committee is made up of nine educators and two community members who collectively serve as an ethics committee for the Utah Board of Education.

Included in their monthly reports are their recommendation for any actions they feel the board should take against a licensed educator and this is where I’ve retrieved my info for this section of my article.

http://www.schools.utah.gov/uppac/Newsletter.aspx

The percentage of teachers who were either suspended or received a revocation of their license for sexual offenses was quite staggering. And that’s an understatement when you look at the end numbers.

While no one likes to see one of their teachers in trouble, it’s another thing all together to see things like this.  If a teacher was going to be in trouble one would think it might be from drugs/alcohol or maybe a retail theft somewhere.

I’ve discovered when a teacher in Utah has their license revoked or suspended the majority of the time it’s because of a sexual offense. In fact one of the newsletters shared a story of when the UDOE hired an attorney in September 2012. They told the attorney she’d find a few cases of teachers having porn on their school computers. Here’s the rest of what the newsletter said in that paragraph:

“The other day she [the investigator] jokingly complained that there’s nothing “few” about the number of pornography cases she has reviewed in the last few months. Sadly, educators’ decisions to view pornographic materials on school computers are a problem. We are confident that these cases represent a very small percentage of total educators, and is not way of the profession as a whole. But even a “few” is a few too many.”

http://www.schools.utah.gov/uppac/Newsletter/September-Newsletter-2012.aspx

[Note: The grammatical error in the paragraph above is from the Utah Department of Education – not me]

Allow me to preface my findings by echoing the words from one of the UPPAC newsletters.  Two-tenths of one percent of all teachers in Utah gets themselves into trouble. By and large the vast majority are upstanding citizens in society.  Utah currently employs 26,000 people through the education system. And while they say only two-tenths of one percent gets into trouble it makes me wonder how many aren’t caught.

Stats are from UPPAC only and represent January 2006 to October 2012.

Offense

Sexual

Non-

Sexual

Total

2006

21

5

26

2007

12

2

14

2008

11

6

17

2009

15

4

19

2010

20

1

21

2011

3

9

12

2012

9

15

24

Total

91

42

133

More than two-thirds (68%) of terminated teachers were fired because of sexual offenses. The nation’s average still sits at a distant 24%.  Why is there such a marked difference? And why was the percentage of sexual misconducts up by 16%? What is going on?

The list of teacher misconduct in Utah from 2006-2009 reveals 212 violations were recorded and of those 90 were for sexual misconduct and/or moral and ethical reasons. During that same timeframe (2006-2009) 60 licenses were suspended and/or revoked. http://www.schools.utah.gov/main/DOCS/Professional-Conduct-Report.aspx

Reinstatements

I also looked at teachers who had their licenses reinstated from January 2006 to October 2012. I wanted to know what percentage was reinstated after a suspension or revocation for a sexual offense.  Here’s what I found (these numbers are only from UPPAC, not the entire school system in Utah which wasn’t available at time of this writing so these numbers serve as an example of the real problem):

Offense

Sexual

Non-

sexual

Unknown

Total

2006

1

1

1

3

2007

?

4

1

5

2008

2

1

2

5

2009

2

?

2

4

2010

?

?

4

4

2011

0

1

0

1

2012

0

0

0

0

Total

5

7

10

22

As you can see 23% of reinstatements included those who had originally been suspended or revoked because of a sexual offense.

I’m wondering why any teacher who was initially let go for a sexual offense was able to get their job back?  The Utah Board of Education has explicitly stated that no one will retain their job after being convicted of a sexual offense and that’s good.  So why are people being reinstated after a suspension or revocation for things like porn on school computers, sex solicitation or child abuse?

And why aren’t all the listings complete? Why didn’t they specify the reason a teacher’s license had been suspended or revoked? Could it be they had originally been suspended or revoked for a sexual offense? If so, that brings the percentages of those who had been reinstated for a sexual offense up to 68%.

Many reports are written and presented about the school systems in America. Some are an absolute waste of time and money while others provide valuable insight for those in education. One report I found telling was given by the GAO (Government Accounting Office).

In 2010 an investigation discovered that there are no federal laws against hiring and retaining sex offenders in the public schools. http://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/2011report/2011-apr-appendix-b1.pdf

While all 50 states have their own laws regarding this issue, they vary widely on how offenders are reported or sometimes even reinstated after a suspension or revocation of their license.

As such it’s a mishmash of who allows what in that particular state. Utah, DC and thirteen other states are the only states that don’t have mandatory employment termination and/or license revocation laws for specific offenses which include sexual misconduct.

Interestingly enough some states prohibit sex offenders from being on school campuses, but have no law against hiring or reinstating sex offenders. Utah is just one example of the contradictory mandates for school employment.   http://www.gao.gov/assets/320/313255.html

Scary Stuff

A report from a lengthy investigation by the Office of the Legislative Auditor General stands out as the beacon of what’s wrong in Utah when they found some very disturbing facts.  http://www.le.utah.gov/audit/09_08rpt.pdf

Here in part is what they said;

“In our opinion, the current system for detecting and identifying the criminal histories of individuals employed in public schools is flawed and ineffective.

Our primary concern, as is the major concern of public education

officials, is the safety of the children in public schools. The fact that, in

spite of our small sample of 32 schools in 4 school districts, we found

17 current education employees (both licensed educators and

classified/nonlicensed employees) with concerning criminal

convictions who have access to children, magnifies the issues presented

in this report.”

Here are just a few examples of what they’ve found:

In 2008, one educator’s license was suspended for a felony

DUI. Prior to the 2008 conviction, the educator was also

convicted of two prior DUIs in 2004 and 2005, and failure to

stop at the command of police in 2005. The 2005 convictions

of DUI and failure to stop at the command of police occurred

while the educator was a chaperon at an after-hours school

event. The educator left during the course of the event and had

no children in the vehicle. The educator was driving under the

influence of alcohol and, when pulled over by the police, the

educator got out of the vehicle and attempted to flee.

In 2008, one educator’s license was revoked for abusing

prescription drugs and creating an unsafe learning environment

because of the drug abuse, but this educator was also convicted

on federal charges of bank fraud in 1997 and 1998.

In our review, we found that UPPAC

recently approved two individuals for licensure that raise potential

concerns:

One person was recently approved for licensure who was

convicted in 2007 of a third-degree felony, child abuse/neglect.

Even though this conviction was later expunged in 2008, there

are still concerns because this person was convicted of a crime

that involved violence and a child. There is no clear rule

regarding how felony child abuse should be handled by

UPPAC.

Another person, recently approved for licensure, was convicted

of writing prescriptions illegally, and is seeking licensure six

years after this felony charge and one year after a theft

conviction. Again, no clear rule regarding licensure exists that

can be applied to these convictions.

Their findings should make the hair on every parent’s neck stand up and give pause to what’s going on inside the school system.

The Auditor General took a small sampling of teachers (1,209) and ran background checks.  Brace yourself for the bad news.

They identified 17 current employees in the 32 schools they sampled with criminal convictions. Eleven had convictions prior to being hired and eight after being hired. Even worse is how two had criminal convictions both before and after hiring.  Out of the 1,209 employees, 49 have criminal histories. This is 4.1% in the 32 schools.  It makes you wonder what the whole story is and shows that it’s much higher than the two-tenths of one percent the schools are claiming.  The report proves that school districts have retained employees with criminal convictions after being hired. This is unbelievable and totally unacceptable.

The eleven employees with criminal backgrounds were convicted of felony sex assault, indecent exposure, aggravated assault with a baseball bat, credit card fraud, felony forgery, theft, retail theft, felony burglary, grand larceny, drugs, loaded weapons in vehicles, cultivating controlled substances and financial transaction card offenses.

The last one listed may have had access to financial records of the school. One school employee actually had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court on another charge.

Utah has stated they need to adopt new laws with detailed rules of do’s and don’ts but have yet to decide what those particulars should be.

Here’s a hint…if you are convicted of any sex crime you’re out for good. That should be for porn on school computers to raping a student or anyone for that matter. If you’re convicted of a drug offense or drinking and driving or showing up to work drunk – you’re out.

Armed robbery, burglary, pot farms, stalking, lewdness, violent offenses, convictions of domestic abuse, murder, larceny, theft…you’re out. Two states that Utah would like to model themselves after have an absolute zero tolerance policy for the offenses I’ve just mentioned and I have to wonder why the Beehive State isn’t buzzing around enacting these policies yesterday?  All the offenses listed here but murder are just some of the offenses committed by employees listed in my research.

The legislature also discovered that anyone hired before 1994 had never been subject to a full background check and still haven’t. The UDOE said they don’t want it to be a financial burden to teachers or to the school system to run checks.  Yet they’re willing for the effects of a criminal’s behavior to be a burden to the victim?

Sign me up; I’ll be the first to pony up the 25 bucks it costs to run a background check per employee.  If you ask the parents of a child who was a victim to some icky person don’t you think they’d “splurge” for the $25?  I can’t imagine they wouldn’t think it was necessary. And if someone doesn’t want to spend a couple of dollars to ensure everyone’s safety I wonder what they have to hide.

And finally if all that wasn’t bad enough, one of the major hurdles the school system faces is the union. According to a report by the US Undersecretary of Education the union has a major impact on teacher’s contracts.  http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/misconductreview/report.pdf

The stipulations some unions try to pass off border on the stupid side (my opinion). The secretary noted unions have tried to implement clauses exempting teachers from background checks. Some teacher labor unions believe they’re an invasion of privacy or if they’re already employed by the district then everything should be cool.

My solution for that?

If you don’t like it, don’t apply.

If we can’t stand up for those who don’t have a voice then who will? They deserve a good education and freedom from being assaulted while doing so.  Their comment reminds me of something I heard from a kindergarten teacher years ago while she gave a presentation to parents on the “Welcome to School Night”.  She stated that after 20+ years of teaching she’s decided she doesn’t like teaching scholastics or academics and she wasn’t real fond of boys.

Her words still make me wonder why she had bothered driving to the school to begin with, let alone going to the trouble of being a teacher.  I wanted to tell her what I would tell the examples above: it’s time you looked for a different vocation. The kids deserve better.

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Suicide in Utah 2012 https://lifeafter.org/suicide-in-utah-2012/ https://lifeafter.org/suicide-in-utah-2012/#respond Sat, 26 Jan 2013 23:31:59 +0000 http://lifeafter.org/?p=12477 The ABC’s of Utah Vital Stats 2012 9,780 That’s how many people in Utah have committed suicide since 1980. In those 32 years the size of a small town took their own lives. It’s sobering news when thought upon in that light and even more sobering when you realize that today someone in Utah will […]

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The ABC’s of Utah Vital Stats 2012

Utah

9,780

That’s how many people in Utah have committed suicide since 1980. In those 32 years the size of a small town took their own lives. It’s sobering news when thought upon in that light and even more sobering when you realize that today someone in Utah will take their own life again.

Every 131 minutes someone in  Utah will attempt suicide.

The potential these people had to make us a better society or to contribute their time and talents is gone – forever.

While compiling the stats this time around I didn’t see any significant changes in the way Utah does life, except for the continuous rise of suicides. As I mentioned in the status of Utah schools I carry a hope inside me things will change, and for some people that’s true. Fortunately God can and will intervene when we open  our hearts.  While I understand and know that as the world keeps drawing further away from the Lord things will continue to worsen, there’s an eternal optimist living in me that doesn’t think it needs to be so.

God is Louder

This past week my family and I enjoyed a few days together over on the coast.  I fell in love with oceans as a young child while visiting an uncle who lived in Jersey and from that time on I’ve been in awe.

While visiting Pacific Beach, WA this past week I stood out on the back porch of the house we rented and just listened to the waves rolling in. One after another they came as I made a mental note of their consistency and how their strong rumbling noise kept going even with other noises around me.

Their sound reminds me that God is always present, always on time and always bigger and louder than man-made noises.

When we allow God into our lives His comfort is greater than our most self-degrading thoughts and His Holy Spirit stronger than any self mustered willpower we’ll ever know.

Those truths are what I pray every Mormon comes to realize even while the world is in a hurry to collapse upon itself.  The busyness Mormons imprison themselves with in trying to become perfect will never be good enough and it all leads back to just one person; Joseph Smith.

While you read the following stats pray for those who are caught in each category. It may seem this is just a list of numbers, but reality isn’t a statistic. These are real people with real problems and as much as they’re wrong in their theology, God loves them anyway because He’s louder than their problems.

If you’re in trouble, don’t entertain the idea death stops the pain. This isn’t true. The pain continues for those left behind.

There are people who can and will help. When you push through until tomorrow things look and feel different.  I know this because I too attempted suicide as a teen in Utah.  Those dark days of Utah Mormonism are long gone now, Praise the Lord, so I’m living proof there’s a way out of Utah and the darkness!

Tell someone about your pain – I promise they’ll want to know and they do care.  I compile these stats biannually to open the eyes of those who can move into action and do something.  I know without a doubt the Lord uses it to His glory as people see the problem and are moved by His Holy Spirit to take part in the solution to this problem.

Churches can walk the streets and look for people in trouble. Church members can volunteer at teen crisis centers or battered women’s shelters. My church here in the Seattle area collect men’s clothing and distributes them along with warm meals every week under the freeway overpasses.

You can do something which in turn will prompt others around you to do the same.

1. Abortions

Utah’s abortions rate is one vital stat Utah doesn’t have to hang its head in shame over.  Traditionally they tend to have lower rates than the nation and by lower I mean dramatically so. Check out the Census Bureau CDC’s comparison here:

U.S.

Utah

Utah

Abortions

1980

29.28

11.1

4,086

1990

27.4

10.5

4,796

2000

21.3

6.7

3,509

2010

15.1*

5.7

3,446

2011

NA

NA

3,081**

2012

NA

NA

NA

*2009 is latest data year available

**Utah’s abortion rate per 1,000 females not available, but rate per 1,000 live births was 60.2%

NA = Not available

2. Births

One of the things Utah does well is having kids – and lots of them. (The LDS teaching of spirit babies waiting on people to produce a tabernacle is taken seriously in Mormonism and is the determining factor of what drives their high birth rate.

U.S. Utah
1980 15.9 28.3
1990 16.7 21.0
2000 14.4 21.1
2010 12.7 18.8
2011 12.7 18.2
2012 NA 18.5

NA = Not Available

Birth Rate is births per 1,000 of all female population. Fertility rate is births per 1,000 female population between the ages of 15-44. For this article we’ve used birth rate, not fertility rate.

2010 – 52,164 babies born in Utah

2011 – 51,144 babies born in Utah

3. Child Abuse

2011 – Utah Child Population 880, 309

All percentages are per 1,000 children

2011- Utah ranked higher than the national average overall in child maltreatment 14.8 to US 9.2. They ranked higher than the nation in 3 specific areas which were sexual abuse 15.9 to 9.3; psychological maltreatment 51.5 to 7.5; and “other/unknown” types of abuse 23.7 to 10.5.

2011 – “364 [child abuse/maltreatment] cases were reported to the CJC”

2011 – 42% of victims are 5 years old or younger

2011 – Every 38 minutes a child is abused or neglected in Utah

2012 –January through March of this year, 128 sexual or physical child abuse cases have been opened at the CJC

“Utah has the highest rate of paid online pornography subscriptions in the country, Burton said, who suspects that ranking stems from the high number of Utah homes having computers because of the state’s culture and level of education.” – Susan Burton, Child Justice Center

“The reported abuse cases are even more concerning based on the number of state offenders already serving prison sentences for child abuse.” – Susan Burton, CJC

Of all Utah child abuse cases between 2007-2010, sexual abuse cases made up the greatest share. Additionally of all cases for same time-frame for the seven surrounding states, Utah’s sex abuse average was 16.55% vs. the 7 other surrounding states’ average of 6.55%.

4. Divorces

Apparently Utah’s families are forever plan hasn’t fit in with everyone as their divorce rate has proven to be higher than the national average for several decades now.

U.S.

Utah

1980

5.2

5.4

1990

4.7

5.2

2000

4.0

4.3

2010

3.6

3.7

2011

NA

3.7

2012

NA

NA

NA = Not Available

5. Domestic Violence

2011 – Utah is rated 6th in the U.S. for children who are confirmed by child protective services as victims of maltreatment. (source: KIDS COUNT, 4/2011)

2011 – 3,500 women, children and men lived in domestic violence shelters and domestic violence transitional housing to stay safe.

2011 – 11,000+ people provided w/ nonresidential services such as safety planning, referrals and support groups: Kathryn Monson, Chair of the Utah Domestic Violence Council

42 child deaths in FY 2012 for clients being treated/seen by DCFS. “Overall, deaths among children served by DCFS fell to 42 in fiscal year 2012, compared to 53 the previous year.” – Deseret News

Domestic related homicides & suicides by the year:

2010 – 19

2011 – 33

2012 – 29

Deseret News reports 18 Domestic Related Homicides for 2012. Utah’s Domestic Violence Coalition reports all homicides and suicides which DN did not include.

6. Drug Overdoses

DrugsUtah ranks 4th in the US for overdose deaths

2011 – “An average of 23 Utahans die as a result of prescription opioids each month.”

2010 – 369 poisoning deaths in Utah

2011 – 444 poisoning deaths in Utah

2010 – 278 Rx drug deaths in Utah/236 Rx Opioid Deaths in Utah

2011 – 308 Rx drug deaths in Utah/246 Rx Opioid Deaths in Utah

7. Economy

2011-2012 – Utah enjoys a lower unemployment rate than the rest of the nation @ 5.1% but ranked 14th in the number of foreclosures

2010 – 9th per capita for number of personal bankruptcy filings and saw a 24% increase in number of filings from 2009.

2011 – 4th for personal bankruptcies – “For 2011, Utah was the only state that saw an increase in bankruptcy filings, climbing a modest 1 percent.”

8. Homicides

1980 – 55

1990 – 52

2000 – 43

2010 – 45

2011 – 52

2012 – 49

9. Marriages

US

Utah

1980

10.6

11.6

1990

9.8

11.2

2000

8.2

10.6

2010

6.8

8.5

2011

NA

8.6

2012

NA

NA

NA = Not Available

10. Mental Health

In 2011, Utah high school students reported:

• 26.7% felt sad or hopeless

• 14.3% seriously considered attempting suicide

• 12.4% made a suicide plan

• 7.2% attempted suicide one or more times

• 3.1% of students suffered an injury, poisoning, or an overdose that had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt.

2011 – 38.1% of Utahans report at least one day in the last month w/ poor mental health

2011 – Utahans topped the list of states with the greatest number of people thinking about suicide

11. Mormon Population & Utah Population

Utah’s population has almost doubled since 1980 thanks not only to their high birth rate, but people moving in for economic reasons as well. According to the feds census, 31% of Utah’s population is under 18 yrs old while the US’ overall rate is around 23%.

Utah’s population grew by 1.9% compared to the US average of .9%.

In my last report (2010) I gave stats from the Salt Lake Tribune who cited 60.4% of Utah was Mormon. This time I went back to the Trib and they now report Utah was 62.1% LDS. Their stat for 2011 says Utah is 62.2% Mormon.

Nonetheless, Utah’s about 60% Mormon.  It looks like the Mormon population is only growing via their birth rate and not conversions.

Utah Population –

1980 – 1,474,000

1990 – 1,729,227

2000 – 2,246,467

2010 – 2,774,663

2011 – 2,813,923

2012 – 2,855,287

12. Prison Population and Expenditures

PrisonsThis section is one that should alarm (yes, alarm) everyone in Utah. The reality of what goes on in Utah is evident in their prison population. I just about fell out of my chair when I read these numbers.  This reality casts a dark shadow on their family proclamation.

Every year Utah spends close to $30,000 a year per prisoner which is almost 5 times more than they spend on each student ($6,300).  Why have all those kids if you’re not willing to financially invest in their future?

Nationwide approximately 5.2% of the US prison population is made up of sexual offenders compared to Utah’s average of 31%. Sadly 69% of prisoners serving time for sex offenses in Utah were convicted of sex crimes against children – National Corrections Reporting Program, 2009: Offense, by type of admission

Utah has the fifteenth smallest prison population

13. Rape Rate

We can gather and read reports ad nausea and we can wonder why things happen till the cows come home, but all this busyness can’t fix the problem Utah encounters with rape.

Statistical reports serve the purpose of verification in the minds of humans by showing in a tangible way our world is okay, or if needed, spur us into action when it’s not.  Each time I write these reports I do so with the intent someone other than me will see the correlation between the behavioral culture in Utah and the doctrinal treatise espoused by the Church.  Soon after leaving the Church, I became convinced the outcomes of both aren’t coincidental.

As I’ve stated in previous articles Mormonism is built upon two theological principles; sex and godhood. By mandating sex for salvation the Church has taken a gift God gave to mankind in marriage and dragged it down to the level of bestiality He never intended.  Thus the end results are seen with the rape problem in Utah decade after decade.

Historically Utah has witnessed a rape rate exceeding the national average every year for decades and in past reports I’ve compared their rate against four other states and the national average.  I’ve done this again and included the rape rate with seven other states surrounding Utah.

Statistics show one in three women in Utah will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, whereas the national average is one in five.

2011 was the first time since I’ve been doing these reports where Utah saw a drop in the number of rapes for one year.  Even with the decline they’re still above the US average.

2012 Utah and US Rape Rate Compared
Utah rape rate
14. School Population and Expenditures

Expenditures per Pupil in Fall Enrollment Fiscal Years 2008-2012

Utah/US monies spent on students per year

2008 – $6,353/$10,297

2009 – $6,564/$10,591

2010 – $6,373/$10,652

2011 – $6,377/$10,670

2012 – $6,384/$10,855

Utah ranked dead last in the nation with the lowest expenditures per pupil.

Also read our report on the status of Utah’s schools and reasons for teacher termination here:

Suicide and Schools in Utah

Sadly the state of Utah sees a high number of teachers who’ve been terminated for sexual misconduct of some kind and exceeds the national average by more than twice the national rate.

The graduation rate for white students in Utah is about average for the nation, but with the status of non-white graduation rate, Utah has nothing to brag about with this one.

15. Suicides

1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)

1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

Deaf Hotline:

1-800-799-4TTY (4889)

While I’ve attempted to narrow down the focus of this report I can’t dismiss the opportunity of sharing the truth about Jesus’ feelings for you. Regardless of who you are, where you’ve been or what you’ve done He loves you beyond what words could express. There’s nothing you’ve done that is beyond the reach of His redeeming hand.  And I do mean nothing.  Murder, sex crimes, robbery or taking a pen from your employer – no sin is worse than another and nothing stands between you and Jesus except for the closed door you haven’t yet opened.

You may have been abandoned by your parents, siblings, spouse, children and friends, but He will never do that to you. He lived and died specifically to set you free from the bondage that has trapped you into those dark moments in life.

Knowing this truth in life is what drives me to write the reports and expose what goes on in Utah. Too many people are haunted by the unseen demons and unspoken expectations of what Utah culture demands.

If you have the ability to reach out and help with the problems I’ve listed in this report, please, do something today. Not tomorrow. Today.

If you feel you’re one of those lost who needs the help, do something today, right this moment. Don’t become one of the statistics listed here!  Jesus didn’t die for that.  He came for you to have life!

2010 – 1 in 15 adults in Utah seriously contemplated suicide, the highest in the nation

2011 – 1.5% of all US deaths were from suicide

2011 – 3.2% of all Utah deaths were from suicide

Clock Every Day in Utah: 

2010-2012 – 1.4 completed suicides

2010-2012 – 11 suicide attempts

The continual increases we see every year for suicides in Utah can’t be blamed solely on the economy. Nine year old kids don’t know what the economy is and it’s highly unlikely all the 25-34 year old people who account for the greatest number of suicides would solely attribute their problems on unsecured debt. In fact, a report in 2010 showed that only 15% reported financial problems while 40% had past conflicts with their intimate partners.

I’d like to reiterate what I said in my last report by saying there isn’t any one thing we can point to and say “ah-ha, that’s why the suicide rate is so high”.  I don’t buy into the theory it’s the altitude, or solely the economy; nor do I believe it’s all because of the Mormons.

However, I do believe that demonic influences play their part whenever death and destruction are involved no matter from what source they originate. God is not a God of the dead, but of the living (Mark 12:27), thereby negating any notion He doesn’t care what mankind does to themselves or each other.

By that measure I’m confident we can say Mormonism plays its part in what we see year in and year out in my beloved home state.  The spiritual oppression in Utah is hard to ignore whether you’re driving through or actually living there.

Just as Hollywood influences the culture in L.A., so we see Mormonism’s indelible mark upon the culture in Utah and how people there view life in general.  And because the majority of Utah’s population is still LDS, their influence is apparent in the schools, government and even privately owned businesses.

It’s always perplexed me with the Church’s vast platform how they’ve refused to utilize it in a manner befitting true Christianity.  Instead we see wagging fingers and teachings that nothing short of perfection are acceptable before the eyes of God.

The demand of such lofty ideals aren’t meant to bring out the best in mankind, rather they’re utilized to shame and demean people from an early age to gain control and tear at the heart strings of individual members. Survival of the fittest holds true in this scenario with people attempting to climb their perfection ladders to godhood status.

By casting doubts on the translation and validity of the Bible Joseph Smith gained a foothold in the minds of early Mormons which allowed him a rather secure position to introduce his new god.

With seeds of doubt regarding God’s word comes inner self doubt of who God made us to be. The Bible is clear He created mankind to have fellowship with and it’s clear many times over with verses declaring life is in our blood. Alas, this seemingly innocuous thumbing your nose at God’s provision through His word might sound irrelevant to those living in the twenty-first century; a closer looks shows how that seed of doubt and mistrust grew from one generation to the next and had a definite impact on those living in the same vicinity.

Where is the value in the end result of suicide?  Do Smith’s teachings hold power to heal and restore man so he can have a relationship with God? If so, what tangible evidences can be seen to validate man is living in a covenant relationship with God deterring him from wanting to take his own life?  Where are the saviors on Mt. Zion the Church boastfully says they provide?

The residual fruits of Mormonism are casting a dark shadow on the only true church.

A Utah study focused on the ranking of leading causes of death from 1994-1998 according to religious status.  Researchers discovered the LDS’ strict adherence to banishment of alcohol and tobacco provides positive health benefits not typical of non-LDS counterparts in the state.  And to some extent I will agree on that, but it’s a very short leash. http://www.matheson.utah.edu/Annual_Review/UHReview/archives/2000A5.pdf

In a chart created after the pattern found on WISQARS website I found their comparisons of the top ten leading causes of death in Utah by age and religion for both men and women. Data was used from the Utah Department of Health, the US Bureau of the Census and records of deceased members of the LDS Church.

Mormons committed more suicides than non-Mormons and of all the total deaths in those two age groups, Mormons held the greatest share.  Yet somehow they’ve been able to find a way to show a greater percentage of non-Mormons commit suicide than those on the fellowship roles. The following is an excerpt from the chart in the study mentioned above. Numbers & rankings are for male suicides 1994-1998 in Utah.

2012 Utah Suicide LDS and non-LDS
Manipulating numbers to obtain the desired results of what we want to be true is clearly seen in their analysis and in reality we’re all guilty of this at some point in our lives. Attempting to rationalize unacceptable behavior around us is a form of self preservation and understandable; however, there comes a time when forcing a set of blinders on to ignore reality isn’t just detrimental, but downright dangerous if we’re not careful. Utah needs to do more than just acknowledge there’s a problem as they keep doing and address this issue head on.

The group of three LDS men who compiled the report concluded their analysis with the following statement;

“…while suicide had a higher ranking and accounts for a larger proportion of LDS deaths in this age group, non-LDS men actually have a 50% higher mortality rate than LDS men in this age group.”

Apparently it doesn’t matter the numbers are too high or that suicide ranked as the leading cause of death for these young men.  What mattered is the percentages came out higher for non-members if you compare them in a different way.  The significance of why this happens in Utah has been tossed aside in order to shine a favorable light upon the Church.  As in any well run business, it’s all about the bottom line; collateral damage is just an unfortunate but expected byproduct of the beast.

2011 – Utah ranked 8th in the nation for the number of suicides per 100,000 inhabitants.  As with our other comparisons in this report, states surrounding Utah also have a higher average rate of suicide.

Please, pray for these people! In the charts below you’ll see how the suicide rates continue to climb, year after year, decade after decade.

2012 Utah Suicides and Vitals

*2010 – WISQARS (part of the CDC) reports 473 suicides for 2010 as their final tally with suicide as the 6th leading cause of death in Utah

2010 – Utah Dept. of Health listed 456 for 2010.

2011 – Utah Dept. of Health also reported 524 suicides as a preliminary count.

**Utah suicides January 2012-October 17, 2012. Both 2011 & 2012 counts are preliminary and will change (in other words, go up).

Utah US Suicide by Decade

Suicide rates per 100,000

NA = Not Available

1980-2012 Utah Suicides

The Children

2010 – Nationwide 267 children between ages 10-14 committed suicide.  Utah’s kids accounted for 13% of those.

2011 – A child in Utah commits suicide every 12 days

2000 – 2011 on average 29 kids per year in Utah committed suicide

2012 Utah Kids and Suicides

I’ll update final numbers as they become available.

2012 Utah Vital Stats Reference Links

1. http://health.utah.gov/vitalrecords/pub_vs/ia10/10a_112011.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6108a1.htm?s_cid=ss6108a1_w#Tab1

http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0103.pdf

2. http://health.utah.gov/vitalrecords/pub_vs/ia10/10bx_10122011.pdf

http://health.utah.gov/vitalrecords/2011bx_Final.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_05.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/provisional_tables/Provisional_Table01_2012Jun.pdf

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55504996-90/birth-census-grew-growing.html.csp

3. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cm11.pdf

http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/data/state-data-repository/cits/2012/2012-utah-children-in-the-states.pdf

http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/data/soac-2012-handbook.pdf

http://www.standard.net/stories/2012/04/05/davis-may-top-2011-child-abuse-cases-well-2012-out

http://archive.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cwo07-10/cwo07-10.pdf

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cm11.pdf

4. http://health.utah.gov/vitalrecords/pub_vs/ia10/09to10md_Final_03122012.pdf

http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0078.pdf

http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/12statab/vitstat.pdf

5. http://www.ucasa.org

http://udvc.org/udvc/udvc-publications

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/55557987-78/violence-domestic-utah-council.html.csp?page=1

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/jan/02/ut-utah-homicides

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865569730/Domestic-violence-behind-many-of-Utahs-2012-homicides.html

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865569157/Review-of-childrens-deaths-in-Utah-called-heartbreaking.html

6. http://www.standard.net/stories/2011/11/01/utah-ranks-4th-nationwide-overdose-deathss

http://www.health.utah.gov/vipp/pdf/FactSheets/RxOpioidDeaths.pdf

7. http://governor.utah.gov/dea/EconSummaries/EconomicSummary.pdf

http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/state-us-bankruptcy-filing-statistics-1276.php

8. http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/utcrime.htm

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/55526392-78/police-died-homicide-shot.html.csp

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/55539716-78/shot-police-allegedly-killed.html.csp

9. http://health.utah.gov/vitalrecords/pub_vs/ia10/09to10md_Final_03122012.pdf

http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0078.pdf

http://health.utah.gov/vitalrecords/2011bx_Final.pdf

10. http://www.health.utah.gov/vipp/pdf/FactSheets/Youth.pdf

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705392958/Utahns-think-about-suicide-more-than-other-Americans-study-shows.html

11. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home3/53909710-200/population-lds-county-utah.html.csp

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55504996-90/birth-census-grew-growing.html.csp

http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_13902873

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/49000.html

12. http://www.vera.org/files/price-of-prisons-utah-fact-sheet.pdf

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=2065

http://news.hjnews.com/news/article_af847a0e-3004-11e0-8030-001cc4c03286.html

http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/pim09st.pdf

13. http://www.ucasa.org

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10tbl05.xls

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10tbl04.xls

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-5

14. http://www.schools.utah.gov/data/Superintendents-Annual-Report/AR-2011-2012/F5CurrentExpendituresPupilFallEnrollmentFY2008-201.aspx

http://lifeafterministry.com/2012/12/13/2012-vital-stats-of-utah

15. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6013a1.htm

http://www.matheson.utah.edu/Annual_Review/UHReview/archives/2000A5.pdf

http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemaptable.jsp?ind=667&cat=2

http://www.suicidology.org/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=232&name=DLFE-24.pdf

http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/12statab/vitstat.pdf

http://health.utah.gov/vitalrecords/2011x_final.pdf

http://health.utah.gov/vipp/NVDRS/Overview.html

http://health.utah.gov/vitalrecords/pub_vs/ia10/10x_10252011.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html

http://health.utah.gov/vipp/pdf/FactSheets/Youth.pdf

http://health.utah.gov/vipp/pdf/FactSheets/YoungAdultSuicide.pdf

http://health.utah.gov/vipp/pdf/FactSheets/FemaleAdult.pdf

http://health.utah.gov/opha/publications/other/suicide.pdf

http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate9.html

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2012 Vital Stats of Utah https://lifeafter.org/2012-vital-stats-of-utah/ https://lifeafter.org/2012-vital-stats-of-utah/#comments Thu, 13 Dec 2012 02:33:43 +0000 http://lifeafterministry.com/?p=7954 Schools in Utah – Part of the Utah’s Vital Stats Series In the advent of our yearly celebration of Jesus’ birth I find myself rushing to complete the Vital Stats Report on Utah.  And as this happens every 24 months you’d think I’d get used to the results of my research, alas, that never occurs […]

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Schools in Utah – Part of the Utah’s Vital Stats Series

kids in front of legislatureIn the advent of our yearly celebration of Jesus’ birth I find myself rushing to complete the Vital Stats Report on Utah.  And as this happens every 24 months you’d think I’d get used to the results of my research, alas, that never occurs for me. Ha!

While I’ve streamlined the format of this project over the years the more information we have readily at our fingertips the more evidence and fruits of Utah Mormonism become clearer still and throws a wrench into my lame attempt at brevity.

Part of me still holds out that little girl hope things in Utah will be better than the previous year and yet I see how much broader the negative influence has permeated the very fiber of most everything in Utah.  Thus, the length of the project seems to grow as I fight to compact it into one or two pages…sigh…and to prove my point as I was dotting the last “i” and crossing the final “t” a Google alert found its way into my inbox announcing that a charter school principle in Utah was arrested this week for the sexual abuse of several boys.  http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/Ex-Utah-principal-arrested-in-child-sex-abuse-4090283.php

While the numbers for 2012 still aren’t tallied at the time of this writing (Dec 3, 2012) I felt it was worthwhile to publish my findings on the status of Utah’s schools.

I’m not here to be sensationalistic. There’s enough drama in this type of ministry without having to self manufacture more attention so understand me when I say I would give ANYTHING, at any time, to find a different result.  However I have to wonder; for how long will we as a society continue to tolerate the inexcusable behavior of adults that is forced upon young people in America?

Now while the vast majority of Americans aren’t Christian I truly believe there’s enough moral fiber collectively left in us to stand up to the wrongs in this world and say enough is enough.

As you’ll see in my report for 2012 suicides and the rape rate climb steadily higher and have historically ranked above the national average for decades now.  Utah still spends on average five times more for each prisoner every year than they do on each kid in public schools.  That is alarming!  In addition to that, Utah also has another notorious claim to fame. They have the highest percentage of prisoners who are incarcerated for sex crimes than anyone else in the nation.  Coincidence?  Yeah, I don’t think so.

School Problems in Utah

Most teachers are born with a personality wanting truth to be known and achieve this in a public forum via the classroom.

Truth isn’t as elusive as you might think, in fact it’s hiding in plain sight and ready to shine forth all on its own.  All we have to do is stand up!  Reading reports of serious infractions or hearing about shortcomings financial and otherwise can serve as our bugle call to action.  That’s what I’ve done here with my discoveries in the status of school problems in Utah.

As with the rest of the country, Utah’s still trying to recuperate from the recession and finds itself trying to play catch up with any ground lost fiscally and otherwise.

However, in the interim the LDS Church’s martyr syndrome is found in the leadership of their schools.  While they like to moan about the fact they sit at the very last place in America per pupil spending they also try to candy-coat reality by saying they’re in the top ten for graduation rates.  This isn’t true.

The truth is that Utah is in 51st place per pupil expenditure and their grades aren’t all that great. As a matter of fact Utah’s math, science and reading skills aren’t anything to write home to mom about and should stand out like a sore thumb to the residents who also have the highest birth rate in the country; more on that in the final report.  They also have a higher than national average for class size. Compare the national rate of 15.5 students per teacher to Utah’s 22.3 students per teacher rate over the past decade. http://www.schools.utah.gov/data/Fingertip-Facts.aspx

Overall something’s gotta give; either the birth rate or financially providing funding for the schools, hiring better teachers and/or coming up with better curriculum.

In the latest report available (2011) the board of education says Utah’s graduation rate is above the national average at 76% but a closer look tells a sad story.  The graduation rate for African Americans and Hispanics barely reached 61% and it only gets worse for American Indians who sit at a dismal rate of 57%.  With a new system of how the feds count rates for graduation, students per school, etc the new system has been used for this report. http://www.schools.utah.gov/data/Educational-Data/Graduation-Dropout-Rates/FinalCohortGrad2011b.aspx

http://www.schools.utah.gov/data/Educational-Data/Graduation-Dropout-Rates/GradRateAnalysesJan11.aspx

The watchdog group Utah Foundation, recently published findings of Utah’s scholastic status stating the difficulty in trying to compare Utah with other states to obtain where Utah ranks nationally. They reported that while Utah’s claim of high ratings in scholastic s has been above other states in various arenas this doesn’t hold true as of late.

They noted a couple of problems with trying to rank Utah w/ other states and the first thing they pointed out is worthy of attention.

Utah is primarily white, has a very low poverty rate and has a relatively strong proportion of college-educated parents.  Now there’s nothing wrong with that, it is what it is.  When you try to lump all states into a category of who did what in a given year, the totals may not be the best comparisons.

They cited that when you compare education stats with their economic peers across the nation, Utah’s not doing as well as you might think.  The comparisons show Utah ranking at or near the bottom of academic achievements.  http://www.utahfoundation.org/img/pdfs/2012_priority_brief_2_k-12.pdf

It also makes a huge difference when Utah uses the same counting method of what constitutes a graduation rate. Utah ranked near the middle of other states (32nd) for overall graduation rates and came in close to the bottom of the pack amongst all other states for graduation rates of minorities – 4th from last with only Minnesota, Nevada and DC ranking below them.   http://www.schools.utah.gov/data/Educational-Data/Graduation-Dropout-Rates/FinalCohortGrad2011b.aspx

http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/elsi/expressTables.aspx

Utah Educators

Several years ago the AP did a piece on schools across the nation. The reporter found that having access to this public institution was like pulling teeth and ended up having to go to court just to investigate the status of teachers.  One of the subjects he wanted info for was cause of termination.  That seems like a reasonable request doesn’t it?  After all, we pay their salaries and they’re watching over our kids…this poor guy ended up fighting a battle he had no idea existed.

Thankfully common sense prevailed, access was granted to the public files and he discovered some astonishing facts.

He found that 25% of terminated teachers nationwide lost their license because of a sexual offense.

Not so in Utah.  More than 52% of teachers who were either suspended or received a revocation had been terminated for a sexual offense.

While I reported on this briefly in my 2010 Utah Vital Stat Report I thought it might be beneficial to see how, or if, the numbers had changed over the years. His study was done for the timeframe of 2000-2005.

I focused on 2006-2012 and my findings left me with a sick feeling I couldn’t shake, thus my article here.

Utah’s Board of Education will send UPPAC (Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission) a handful of cases to review each month for any license they haven’t taken action against either on a local or state level, thus the cases UPPAC reviews is only a small fraction of what goes on collectively.

Every month UPPAC meets to discuss events and goals of Utah’s schools. The committee is made up of nine educators and two community members who collectively serve as an ethics committee for the Utah Board of Education.

Included in their monthly reports are their recommendation for any actions they feel the board should take against a licensed educator and this is where I’ve retrieved my info for this section of my article.

http://www.schools.utah.gov/uppac/Newsletter.aspx

The percentage of teachers who were either suspended or received a revocation of their license for sexual offenses was quite staggering. And that’s an understatement when you look at the end numbers.

While no one likes to see one of their teachers in trouble, it’s another thing all together to see things like this.  If a teacher was going to be in trouble one would think it might be from drugs/alcohol or maybe a retail theft somewhere.

I’ve discovered when a teacher in Utah has their license revoked or suspended the majority of the time it’s because of a sexual offense. In fact one of the newsletters shared a story of when the UDOE hired an attorney in September 2012. They told the attorney she’d find a few cases of teachers having porn on their school computers. Here’s the rest of what the newsletter said in that paragraph:

“The other day she [the investigator] jokingly complained that there’s nothing “few” about the number of pornography cases she has reviewed in the last few months. Sadly, educators’ decisions to view pornographic materials on school computers are a problem. We are confident that these cases represent a very small percentage of total educators, and is not way of the profession as a whole. But even a “few” is a few too many.”

http://www.schools.utah.gov/uppac/Newsletter/September-Newsletter-2012.aspx

[Note: The grammatical error in the paragraph above is from the Utah Department of Education – not me]

Allow me to preface my findings by echoing the words from one of the UPPAC newsletters.  Two-tenths of one percent of all teachers in Utah gets themselves into trouble. By and large the vast majority are upstanding citizens in society.  Utah currently employs 26,000 people through the education system. And while they say only two-tenths of one percent gets into trouble it makes me wonder how many aren’t caught.

Stats are from UPPAC only and represent January 2006 to October 2012.

Offense Sexual Non-Sexual Total
2006 21 5 26
2007 12 2 14
2008 11 6 17
2009 15 4 19
2010 20 1 21
2011 3 9 12
2012 9 15 24
Total 91 42 133

More than two-thirds (68%) of terminated teachers were fired because of sexual offenses. The nation’s average still sits at a distant 24%.  Why is there such a marked difference? And why was the percentage of sexual misconducts up by 16%? What is going on?

The list of teacher misconduct in Utah from 2006-2009 reveals 212 violations were recorded and of those 90 were for sexual misconduct and/or moral and ethical reasons. During that same timeframe (2006-2009) 60 licenses were suspended and/or revoked.  http://www.schools.utah.gov/main/DOCS/Professional-Conduct-Report.aspx

Reinstatements

I also looked at teachers who had their licenses reinstated from January 2006 to October 2012. I wanted to know what percentage was reinstated after a suspension or revocation for a sexual offense.  Here’s what I found (these numbers are only from UPPAC, not the entire school system in Utah which wasn’t available at time of this writing so these numbers serve as an example of the real problem):

Offense Sexual Non-sexual Unknown Total
2006 1 1 1 3
2007 ? 4 1 5
2008 2 1 2 5
2009 2 ? 2 4
2010 ? ? 4 4
2011 0 1 0 1
2012 0 0 0 0
Total 5 7 10 22

As you can see 23% of reinstatements included those who had originally been suspended or revoked because of a sexual offense.

I’m wondering why any teacher who was initially let go for a sexual offense was able to get their job back?  The Utah Board of Education has explicitly stated that no one will retain their job after being convicted of a sexual offense and that’s good.  So why are people being reinstated after a suspension or revocation for things like porn on school computers, sex solicitation or child abuse?

And why aren’t all the listings complete? Why didn’t they specify the reason a teacher’s license had been suspended or revoked? Could it be they had originally been suspended or revoked for a sexual offense? If so, that brings the percentages of those who had been reinstated for a sexual offense up to 68%.

Many reports are written and presented about the school systems in America. Some are an absolute waste of time and money while others provide valuable insight for those in education. One report I found telling was given by the GAO (Government Accounting Office).

In 2010 an investigation discovered that there are no federal laws against hiring and retaining sex offenders in the public schools.  http://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/2011report/2011-apr-appendix-b1.pdf

While all 50 states have their own laws regarding this issue, they vary widely on how offenders are reported or sometimes even reinstated after a suspension or revocation of their license.

As such it’s a mishmash of who allows what in that particular state. Utah, DC and thirteen other states are the only states that don’t have mandatory employment termination and/or license revocation laws for specific offenses which include sexual misconduct.

Interestingly enough some states prohibit sex offenders from being on school campuses, but have no law against hiring or reinstating sex offenders. Utah is just one example of the contradictory mandates for school employment.   http://www.gao.gov/assets/320/313255.html

Scary Stuff

A report from a lengthy investigation by the Office of the Legislative Auditor General stands out as the beacon of what’s wrong in Utah when they found some very disturbing facts.  http://www.le.utah.gov/audit/09_08rpt.pdf

Here in part is what they said;

“In our opinion, the current system for detecting and identifying the criminal histories of individuals employed in public schools is flawed and ineffective.

Our primary concern, as is the major concern of public education

officials, is the safety of the children in public schools. The fact that, in

spite of our small sample of 32 schools in 4 school districts, we found

17 current education employees (both licensed educators and

classified/nonlicensed employees) with concerning criminal

convictions who have access to children, magnifies the issues presented

in this report.”

Here are just a few examples of what they’ve found:

In 2008, one educator’s license was suspended for a felony

DUI. Prior to the 2008 conviction, the educator was also

convicted of two prior DUIs in 2004 and 2005, and failure to

stop at the command of police in 2005. The 2005 convictions

of DUI and failure to stop at the command of police occurred

while the educator was a chaperon at an after-hours school

event. The educator left during the course of the event and had

no children in the vehicle. The educator was driving under the

influence of alcohol and, when pulled over by the police, the

educator got out of the vehicle and attempted to flee.

In 2008, one educator’s license was revoked for abusing

prescription drugs and creating an unsafe learning environment

because of the drug abuse, but this educator was also convicted

on federal charges of bank fraud in 1997 and 1998.

In our review, we found that UPPAC

recently approved two individuals for licensure that raise potential

concerns:

One person was recently approved for licensure who was

convicted in 2007 of a third-degree felony, child abuse/neglect.

Even though this conviction was later expunged in 2008, there

are still concerns because this person was convicted of a crime

that involved violence and a child. There is no clear rule

regarding how felony child abuse should be handled by

UPPAC.

 Another person, recently approved for licensure, was convicted

of writing prescriptions illegally, and is seeking licensure six

years after this felony charge and one year after a theft

conviction. Again, no clear rule regarding licensure exists that

can be applied to these convictions.

Their findings should make the hair on every parent’s neck stand up and give pause to what’s going on inside the school system.

The Auditor General took a small sampling of teachers (1,209) and ran background checks.  Brace yourself for the bad news.

They identified 17 current employees in the 32 schools they sampled with criminal convictions. Eleven had convictions prior to being hired and eight after being hired. Even worse is how two had criminal convictions both before and after hiring.  Out of the 1,209 employees, 49 have criminal histories. This is 4.1% in the 32 schools.  It makes you wonder what the whole story is and shows that it’s much higher than the two-tenths of one percent the schools are claiming.  The report proves that school districts have retained employees with criminal convictions after being hired. This is unbelievable and totally unacceptable.

The eleven employees with criminal backgrounds were convicted of felony sex assault, indecent exposure, aggravated assault with a baseball bat, credit card fraud, felony forgery, theft, retail theft, felony burglary, grand larceny, drugs, loaded weapons in vehicles, cultivating controlled substances and financial transaction card offenses.

The last one listed may have had access to financial records of the school. One school employee actually had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court on another charge.

Utah has stated they need to adopt new laws with detailed rules of do’s and don’ts but have yet to decide what those particulars should be.

Here’s a hint…if you are convicted of any sex crime you’re out for good. That should be for porn on school computers to raping a student or anyone for that matter. If you’re convicted of a drug offense or drinking and driving or showing up to work drunk – you’re out.

Armed robbery, burglary, pot farms, stalking, lewdness, violent offenses, convictions of domestic abuse, murder, larceny, theft…you’re out. Two states that Utah would like to model themselves after have an absolute zero tolerance policy for the offenses I’ve just mentioned and I have to wonder why the Beehive State isn’t buzzing around enacting these policies yesterday?  All the offenses listed here but murder are just some of the offenses committed by employees listed in my research.

The legislature also discovered that anyone hired before 1994 had never been subject to a full background check and still haven’t. The UDOE said they don’t want it to be a financial burden to teachers or to the school system to run checks.  Yet they’re willing for the effects of a criminal’s behavior to be a burden to the victim?

Sign me up; I’ll be the first to pony up the 25 bucks it costs to run a background check per employee.  If you ask the parents of a child who was a victim to some icky person don’t you think they’d “splurge” for the $25?  I can’t imagine they wouldn’t think it was necessary. And if someone doesn’t want to spend a couple of dollars to ensure everyone’s safety I wonder what they have to hide.

And finally if all that wasn’t bad enough, one of the major hurdles the school system faces is the union. According to a report by the US Undersecretary of Education the union has a major impact on teacher’s contracts.  http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/misconductreview/report.pdf

The stipulations some unions try to pass off border on the stupid side (my opinion). The secretary noted unions have tried to implement clauses exempting teachers from background checks. Some teacher labor unions believe they’re an invasion of privacy or if they’re already employed by the district then everything should be cool.

My solution for that?

If you don’t like it, don’t apply.

If we can’t stand up for those who don’t have a voice then who will? They deserve a good education and freedom from being assaulted while doing so.  Their comment reminds me of something I heard from a kindergarten teacher years ago while she gave a presentation to parents on the “Welcome to School Night”.  She stated that after 20+ years of teaching she’s decided she doesn’t like teaching scholastics or academics and she wasn’t real fond of boys.

Her words still make me wonder why she had bothered driving to the school to begin with, let alone going to the trouble of being a teacher.  I wanted to tell her what I would tell the examples above: it’s time you looked for a different vocation. The kids deserve better.

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