Minister of Education Thorgerdur Katrín Gunnarsdóttir submitted a bill during the last parliamentary session, which ended on Friday, regarding law amendments which bar sex offenders from working in kindergartens and elementary schools.
The bill follows up on new laws on youth associations, which were passed last March, barring those who have been convicted of sexual violations according to the general penal code from ever working in any youth association, operated by the state, local authorities, schools or voluntary and independent unions, where the members are younger than 18 years of age, Morgunbladid reports.
The new bill takes this law one step further, where sex offenders cannot be hired to work in any kindergarten or elementary school in the country and applicants are required to submit a criminal record. If an employee of a kindergarten or an elementary school is found guilty of sexual violations, he or she will immediately be suspended.
“It is a big step, of course, because it is being introduced to kindergartens and elementary schools for the first time,” said Steingrímur Sigurgeirsson, assistant to the Minister of Education.
The bill does not, however, include secondary schools where students as young as 14 or 15 can be enrolled. “At this point it was not considered necessary to go as far with secondary schools, though its necessity is obviously open for discussion,” Sigurgeirsson said.
An elementary school teacher was given a 15-month provisory prison sentence at the District Court of Northwest Iceland earlier this month for having a sexual relationship with his student, whom he also coached in football (soccer).
The girl claimed her relationship with her coach and teacher had begun when she was 12 while the defendant stated their relationship had not become sexual until two years later.