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Senate Bill 1712 Ethics in Education Department of Education.

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Presentation on theme: "Senate Bill 1712 Ethics in Education Department of Education."— Presentation transcript:

1 Senate Bill 1712 Ethics in Education Department of Education

2 DISQUALIFYING OFFENSES Listed Offense Felonies and Misdemeanors Conviction Required Offenses occurring prior to effective date of act Juvenile Offenses

3 EMPLOYMENT SCREENING Employment screening for instructional or administrative position that has direct contact with students must include: The Professional Practices Database of Disciplinary Actions Teacher Certification Database Reference check from candidate’s previous employer [note: Under , the superintendent must “conduct employment history checks of each of the personnel’s or administrators’ previous employer….” It is my interpretation that the requirement is to contact each candidate’s prior employer (singular), not each prior employer].

4 The district must document the results from each step in employment screening. If unable to contact the candidate’s previous employer, the district must document the efforts to contact the employer.

5 BACKGROUND SCREENING Chapter 435 does not apply to Certification or Employment of Licensed Educators – under the bill, all references to “level 2” screening have been deleted, making clear that chapter 1012 governs employment and licensure of educators. Chapter 435 does not apply to Certification or Employment of Licensed Educators – under the bill, all references to “level 2” screening have been deleted, making clear that chapter 1012 governs employment and licensure of educators. Rescreening – Criminal background screening is required every five years. If it is found through a disciplinary proceeding that an educator has not been screened appropriately, he/she must be suspended from any position requiring a certificate. Rescreening – Criminal background screening is required every five years. If it is found through a disciplinary proceeding that an educator has not been screened appropriately, he/she must be suspended from any position requiring a certificate.

6 QUALIFICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT Individuals are disqualified from employment in any positions that require direct contact with students if they: have been convicted of a disqualifying offense under Section , Florida Statutes; or have been convicted of a “crime of moral turpitude” as defined by State Board Rule. DOE will be engaging in rulemaking to implement this provision.

7 TERMINATION FOR CAUSE Immorality Grounds for termination of instructional personnel now includes “immorality” State Board Rule 6B Criteria for Suspension and Dismissal includes a definition of “immorality” “immorality” is lower standard than “gross immorality” (educator can be dismissed for “immorality,” but discipline on certificate requires “gross immorality”)

8 Crimes of Moral Turpitude where the statute previously indicated that a “conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude” was just cause for termination, that statute is now amended to read, “being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of guilty to, regardless of adjudication of guilt, any crime involving moral turpitude.” Note that adjudication of guilt is not required, and a finding of guilt may be made even where there is a plea of nolo contendere.

9 EDUCATOR DISCIPLINE Immediate Suspension If alleged misconduct affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student, the district school superintendent must IMMEDIATELY SUSPEND the accused WITH PAY and assign to a position not requiring direct contact with students.

10 EDUCATOR DISCIPLINE New and Revised Offenses Knowingly failing to Report Child Abuse and/or educator misconduct Express authority for State Board to define “gross immorality or an act involving moral turpitude” “convicted” changed to “convicted or found guilty of, or entered a plea of guilty to, regardless of adjudication of guilt” Disqualifying offenses under

11 EDUCATOR DISCIPLINE Mandated Reports Districts required to report to DOE/PPS; district policies are to establish to whom teachers and principals report.

12 SCHOOL BOARD POLICIES DOE is compiling a model policy and is soliciting input from districts.

13 DUTIES OF SUPERINTENDENTS Each superintendent has an affirmative duty to: investigate alleged misconduct by instructional personnel or school administrators; report legally sufficient allegations of misconduct by certified educators to the Office of Professional Practices Services; and submit true and accurate reports. If a superintendent knowingly fails in this duty he or she forfeits his or her salary for one year.

14 – Superintendent must ensure that employment history checks are completed for positions requiring direct contact with students – Superintendent is charged with knowledge of policies and procedures and is accountable for the training of all instructional personnel and school administrators on the standards of ethical conduct, policies, and procedures.

15 FORFEITURE OF RETIREMENT BENEFITS Requires the forfeiture of retirement benefits for the conviction of a felony as defined in s (lewd and lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons under 16), or chapter 794, Florida Statutes (unlawful sexual activity with certain minors), when committed on or after October 1, For the forfeiture of benefits: the person must be a public officer or employee when the offense occurred; the person must have committed the offense through the use or attempted use of power, rights, privileges, duties or position of the person’s public office or employment position; and, the victim was younger than 18 years of age when the offense occurred.

16 Note that as it applies to forfeiture of retirement benefits, “conviction” is defined in s (2)(a) to include “an adjudication of guilt by a court of competent jurisdiction, a plea of guilty or of nolo contendere; a jury verdict of guilty when adjudication of guilt is withheld and the accused is place on probation; or a conviction by the Senate of an impeachable offense.” Note that as it applies to forfeiture of retirement benefits, “conviction” is defined in s (2)(a) to include “an adjudication of guilt by a court of competent jurisdiction, a plea of guilty or of nolo contendere; a jury verdict of guilty when adjudication of guilt is withheld and the accused is place on probation; or a conviction by the Senate of an impeachable offense.”

17 MISCELLANEOUS 1) Act creates similar duties for public schools, charter schools, private schools that accept state scholarships, and the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. 2) Charter Schools. If a charter school knowingly fails to comply with the requirements of the Act, the charter school’s sponsor must terminate the charter.

18 4)Child Abuse Reporting a) Schools must post notice. Previous requirement: district school boards to post a notice that all employees have a duty to report all actual or suspected cases of child abuse, abandonment or neglect to DCF. The notice is to include the statewide toll-free telephone number of the central abuse hotline. b) provisions now apply to public schools, charter schools, private schools that accept scholarships, and Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind c) DCF Liason - The district school superintendent, the superintendent’s designee, the principal of a charter school, or the principal of a private school is required, when requested, to act as a liaison to DCF.

19 Notice re: Reporting Misconduct Each school must post on its website and at a prominent place at each school site the policies and procedures for reporting misconduct, the contact person to whom a report should be made, and the penalties for failure to report misconduct or abuse.

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21 CONTACTS C. Deke DeLoach Chief Human Resources Officer (352) Carolyn Samuel Director, Human Resource Services (352)


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