Protect Ohio Students from Potentially Dangerous Teachers
PROTECT OHIO STUDENTS FROM POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS TEACHERS
There is an unconscionable loophole in Ohio law that blocks schools seeking to hire a teacher from being informed that a teacher is under investigation by the Ohio Department of Education for certain disqualifying conduct.
Because it can take a year or more to complete investigations, teachers who resign during an investigation into potentially disqualifying conduct, resign in lieu of termination, or are terminated due to alleged misconduct are able to interview for a new position and be hired by another school or district because state law prohibits appointing or hiring authorities from accessing records of ongoing investigations.
This absurd loophole creates an unsafe educational environment where a school may hire a teacher who is unfit to teach but whose license has not yet been revoked by the Ohio State Board of Education. Our children deserve better. Current law makes it too easy for dangerous teachers and other licensed educational employees to move from one school or district to another while their misconduct cases are being investigated. The Ohio Department of Education apparently lacks adequate resources to investigate and process cases in a timely manner, so additional measures are required to ensure the safety and well-being of our children.
Relevant sections of the Ohio Revised Code and any applicable administrative rules and procedures should be amended to require:
1. That every applicant for school employment requiring a license issued by the Ohio Department of Education shall, on a standardized electronic form created for such purpose, fully and truthfully under penalty of perjury disclose to the hiring district or school whether they are under investigation by any school district or school in Ohio or by the Ohio Department of Education for any disqualifying offense that may result in the limitation, suspension, or revocation of their license.
This form shall collect the following information, which shall be verified by the Ohio Department of Education:
- First Name
- Middle Name
- Last Name
- State ID
- "Under Penalty of Perjury, I attest that I AM/AM NOT currently under investigation by any school district or school in Ohio or by the Ohio Department of Education for any potentially disqualifying offense (hyperlink to statutory list of offenses) that, if substantiated, may result in the limitation, suspension, or revocation of my license."
- (For applicants answering affirmatively to the foregoing question): "I hereby waive my right to privacy thereby permitting any materials contained in my file including any report the Ohio Department of Education has received under sections 3314.40, 3319.313, 3326.24, 3328.19, or 5126.253 of the Revised Code regarding an individual who is under consideration for employment by the district or school. I understand that this information will be treated confidentially and will not be disseminated to any other person or entity by the appointing or hiring officer."
2. That applicants for licensed employment with a school or district in Ohio who are under investigation as heretofore described and who refuse to permit inspection of the above described materials shall be ineligible for hire by any school or district in Ohio until such time as the investigation is complete and they are deemed eligible by the Ohio Department of Education.
3. That any applicant who knowingly makes a false statement in completing the prescribed form is guilty of falsification under Section 2921.13 of the Revised Code, which is a misdemeanor of the first degree.
It is unfair to deny appointing or hiring officers at Ohio's schools the full and complete information required to make informed hiring decisions. It is unconscionable to leave unaddressed this deficiency in Ohio law that unnecessarily exposes children to potentially dangerous teachers and other licensed educational professionals. We simply cannot afford to allow the privacy and employment interests of educators to outweigh the health and safety interests of our children.