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05/29/2024 06:45 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20130&cosponId=10667
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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 8, 2013 02:45 PM
From: Representative Bernie O'Neill
To: All House members
Subject: Professional Educator Discipline Act
 
The Professional Educator Discipline Act (Discipline Act) establishes a comprehensive system under which professional educators are investigated and disciplined for misconduct in Pennsylvania. Under the Discipline Act, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) investigates cases of educator misconduct and the Professional Standards and Practices Commission (PSPC) oversees the professional educator discipline system and adjudicates cases of educator misconduct.

For the past several years, the PSPC worked to develop amendments to the Discipline Act, which will enhance the safety of students in Pennsylvania schools. The proposed amendments are based on the experiences of the PSPC and PDE, the input of stakeholders in the educator discipline process, troubling court decisions, and discipline strategies used successfully in other states.

On behalf of the PSPC, I plan to introduce legislation, which will make critical changes to the Discipline Act, such as:

  • Expanding the jurisdiction of the PSPC to include educators holding Private Academic School certification and educators working for independent contractors in public schools;
  • Expanding the bases for discipline to include founded and indicated reports of child abuse as well as “grooming” behaviors such as sending a student sexually explicit text messages;
  • Expanding mandatory reporting to PDE to include all educators who resign following an allegation of misconduct;
  • Shortening the time period for mandatory reporting to PDE;
  • Prohibiting school entities from entering into confidential settlement agreements;
  • Protecting school districts that provide accurate references for employees who resign while facing allegations of misconduct; and
  • Eliminating the current statute of limitations for the filing of misconduct complaints.

The Task Force on Child Protection believes passage of such proposal will be consistent with the statutory amendments contained its report, and recognizes PSPC for all their efforts. See Report of the Task Force on Child Protection, page 24.

If you have any questions on this legislation, please contact Connie McClure at (717) 705-7170 or by e-mail cmcclure@pahousegop.com.

Thank you for your consideration and support of this very important piece of legislation.



Introduced as HB930