GREETINGS from the Dawg’s new home!! I am pleased to let you know that the law firm of Walsh Gallegos Trevino Russo and Kyle, P.C., has acquired the EdLawDaily, or as I like to call it, The Daily Dawg. Henceforth you will be getting your Dawg Bones and other assorted legal nuggets via the law firm. Many thanks to Park Place Publications for giving the Daily Dawg a terrific launch. In particular, my thanks go to Ted Siff, Ambrose Austin and Stephen Markel—the Park Place staff that have made this work so well.

Now, as for today’s content:

We had some concerns that the teacher was “getting involved” with a student.  He quit. Do we have to report to SBEC?

The Legislature continues to tighten up reporting requirements in an effort to keep kids safe at school.  HB 1783, which takes effect on September 1 of this year, is the latest effort along these lines.  This new law makes a subtle but important change in the duty of superintendents and others to report possible misconduct to the State Board for Educator Certification.  Current law requires a report if a certified educator was terminated “based on a determination” that the educator engaged in certain types of misconduct.  Reports are also required under current law if the educator resigned “and reasonable evidence supports a recommendation by the superintendent or director to terminate” employment of the educator.

The new law does the following:

  1. It adds a new category of reportable conduct: if the educator was terminated based on evidence that the educator was involved in a romantic relationship with a student, or solicited or engaged in sexual contact with a student or a minor.
  2. It requires a report if the termination is based on “evidence” of the misconduct, rather than a “determination” that the conduct occurred.
  3. It requires a report if the educator resigned and there is “evidence” that he/she engaged in the prohibited misconduct. Current law speaks of “reasonable evidence” that “supports a recommendation” to terminate.
  4. It requires a report if the district obtains information about an educator’s criminal record via means other than the official criminal history clearinghouse.
  5. It requires superintendents and others to complete the investigation of possible misconduct involving romantic relationships with students, even if the employee resigns before the investigation is complete. Current law requires this only in cases of actual abuse or unlawful acts with students or minors.
  6. It applies these reporting standards to superintendents or directors of open enrollment charter schools.

So if you have an employee who resigns in the face of allegations of romantic involvement with a student, you should contact your school’s lawyer. The issue—as of September 1—will be if there is “evidence” of the misconduct—not whether there is sufficient “reasonable evidence” to support a recommendation to terminate.


File this one under: LEGISLATION 2015