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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 7, 2012 10:38 AM
From: Senator Lloyd K. Smucker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Amendments to the Professional Educator Discipline Act
 
In the near future, I plan to re-introduce SB 1459, which would amend the Professional Educator Discipline Act.

The Professional Educator Discipline Act establishes a comprehensive system under which professional educators are investigated and disciplined for misconduct in Pennsylvania. 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.

Over the past few years, the PSPC developed a proposal intended to enhance the safety of students in Pennsylvania schools. The amendments proposed by the PSPC 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.

Several recent cases of misconduct in Lancaster County have increased public interest in having a system that effectively deals with those who abuse the trust they hold as educators.

  • 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.


Previous co-sponsors of this legislation include Senators: Piccola, Erickson, Rafferty, Waugh, Orie, Brubaker, Williams, Browne, and Mensch.

If you have any questions, please contact Matt Parido at mparido@pasen.gov or 7-6535.



Introduced as SB34