DHB(LEGAL) - EMPLOYEE STANDARDS OF CONDUCT: REPORTS TO STATE BOARD FOR EDUCATOR CERTIFICATION
Note: This policy applies to a district of innovation under Education Code, Chapter 12A. [See AF]
The superintendent may notify the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) of any educator misconduct that he or she believes in good faith may be subject to sanctions under 19 Administrative Code, Chapter 249, Disciplinary Proceedings, Sanctions, and Contested Cases, and/or Chapter 247, Educators' Code of Ethics. 19 TAC 249.14(d)
A superintendent shall notify SBEC if:
- An educator employed by or seeking employment with the district, or an applicant or holder of an SBEC certificate, has a criminal record and the district obtained information about the educator's criminal record by a means other than the criminal history clearinghouse established by the Texas Department of Public Safety under Government Code 411.0845;
- An educator's employment at the district was terminated and there is evidence that the educator engaged in misconduct listed below [see Reportable Misconduct, below];
- The educator submitted a notice of resignation and there is evidence that the educator engaged in misconduct listed below [see Reportable Misconduct, below]; or
- The educator engaged in conduct that violated the assessment instrument security procedures established under Education Code 39.0301.
Education Code 21.006, 22.087; 19 TAC 249.14(d)
A superintendent shall make a report to SBEC under items 2 and 3, above, if an educator was terminated or resigned and there is evidence that the educator:
- Sexually or physically abused a student or minor or engaged in any other illegal conduct with a student or minor;
- Possessed, transferred, sold, or distributed a controlled substance, as defined by Health and Safety Code Chapter 481 or by 21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.;
- Illegally transferred, appropriated, or expended school property or funds;
- Attempted by fraudulent or unauthorized means to obtain or alter any certificate or permit that would entitle the individual to be employed in a position requiring such certificate or permit or to receive additional compensation associated with a position;
- Committed a crime, any part of such crime having occurred on school property or at a school-sponsored event; or
- Solicited or engaged in sexual conduct or a romantic relationship with a student or minor.
Education Code 21.006(b); 19 TAC 249.14(d)
A superintendent shall complete an investigation of an educator that involves evidence that the educator may have engaged in misconduct described above at Reportable Misconduct, items 1 and 6, despite the educator's resignation from employment before completion of the investigation. Education Code 21.006(b-1); 19 TAC 249.14(d)(3)(C)
Deadline to Report
The superintendent shall promptly notify SBEC in writing by filing a report within seven business days after the date the superintendent receives a report from a principal [see DP(LEGAL)] or knew of the circumstances described above. Education Code 21.006(c); 19 TAC 249.14(d) [See Required Reports, above]
Contents of Report
The report must be in writing and in a form prescribed by SBEC and may be filed through a confidential and secure internet portal developed and maintained by SBEC. The report shall include the name or names of any student or minor who is the victim of abuse or unlawful conduct by an educator and the factual circumstances requiring the report and the subject of the report by providing the following available information:
- Name and any aliases;
- Certificate number, if any, or social security number;
- Last known mailing address and home and daytime phone numbers;
- All available contact information for any alleged victim or victims;
- Name or names and any available contact information of any relevant witnesses to the circumstances requiring the report;
- Current employment status of the subject, including any information about proposed termination, notice of resignation, or pending employment actions; and
- Involvement by a law enforcement or other agency, including the name of the agency.
Education Code 21.006(c-1); 19 TAC 249.14(f)
The name of the student or minor is not public information under the Public Information Act. [See GBAA] Education Code 21.006(h)
To the Board and Educator
A superintendent shall notify the board and the educator of the filing of a written report with SBEC. The superintendent shall notify the board before filing the report. Education Code 21.006(d); 19 TAC 249.14(d)(3)(B)
Before Accepting Resignation
Before accepting an employee's resignation that requires filing a report, the superintendent shall inform the educator in writing that a report will be filed and that sanctions against his or her certificate may result as a consequence. 19 TAC 249.14(d)(3)(A)
Exception to Notice Requirements
A superintendent is not required to notify SBEC or file a report with the board if, before the educator's termination or resignation, the superintendent:
- Completes an investigation into an alleged incident of misconduct for:
- Abuse or unlawful act with a student or minor; or
- Involvement in a romantic relationship with or solicitation or engagement in sexual contact with a student or minor; and
- Determines the educator did not engage in the alleged incident of misconduct.
Education Code 21.006(c-2)
Policy to Notify Parents
The board shall adopt a policy under which notice is provided to the parent or guardian of a student with whom an educator is alleged to have abused or otherwise committed an unlawful act with a student or minor. [See FFF] Education Code 21.0061
Sanctions for Failure to Report
SBEC shall determine whether to impose sanctions, including an administrative penalty against a superintendent who fails to file a report. Education Code 21.006(f); 19 TAC 249.14(d), (h), .15(b)(4)
If a superintendent is required to file a report and fails to file the report by the required date, SBEC may impose an administrative penalty of not less than $500 and not more than $10,000. SBEC may not renew the certification of an educator against whom an administrative penalty is imposed until the penalty is paid. Education Code 21.006(i)
A superintendent required to file a report commits a state jail felony if the superintendent fails to file the report by the required date with intent to conceal an educator's criminal record or alleged incident of misconduct. Education Code 21.006(j)
A superintendent or principal who, in good faith and while acting in an official capacity, files a report with SBEC or communicates with another superintendent or principal concerning an educator's criminal record or alleged incident of misconduct is immune from civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed. Education Code 21.006(e)
"Abuse" includes the following acts or omissions:
- Mental or emotional injury to a student or minor that results in an observable and material impairment in the student's or minor's development, learning, or psychological functioning;
- Causing or permitting a student or minor to be in a situation in which the student or minor sustains a mental or emotional injury that results in an observable and material impairment in the student's or minor's development, learning, or psychological functioning;
- Physical injury that results in substantial harm to a student or minor, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the student or minor, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline; or
- Sexual conduct harmful to a student's or minor's mental, emotional, or physical welfare.
19 TAC 249.3(1)
Reported Criminal History
"Reported criminal history" means information concerning any formal criminal justice system charges and dispositions. The term includes arrests, detentions, indictments, criminal informations, convictions, deferred adjudications, and probations in any state or federal jurisdiction. 19 TAC 249.3(44)
Solicitation of a Romantic Relationship
"Solicitation of a romantic relationship" means deliberate or repeated acts that can be reasonably interpreted as the solicitation by an educator of a relationship with a student that is romantic in nature. A romantic relationship is often characterized by a strong emotional or sexual attachment and/or patterns of exclusivity, but does not include appropriate educator-student relationships that arise out of legitimate contexts such as familial connections or longtime acquaintance. The following acts, considered in context, may constitute prima facie evidence of the solicitation by an educator of a romantic relationship with a student:
- Behavior, gestures, expressions, or communications with a student that are unrelated to the educator's job duties and evidence a romantic intent or interest in the
student, including statements of love, affection, or attraction. Factors that may be considered in determining the romantic intent of such communications or behavior include:
- The nature of the communications;
- The timing of the communications;
- The extent of the communications;
- Whether the communications were made openly or secretly;
- The extent that the educator attempts to conceal the communications;
- If the educator claims to be counseling a student, SBEC may consider whether the educator's job duties included counseling, whether the educator reported the subject of the counseling to the student's guardians or to the appropriate school personnel, or, in the case of alleged abuse or neglect, whether the educator reported the abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities; and
- Any other evidence tending to show the context of the communications between educator and student.
- Making inappropriate comments about a student's body, creating or transmitting sexually suggestive photographs or images, or encouraging the student to transmit sexually suggestive photographs or images.
- Making sexually demeaning comments to a student.
- Making comments about a student's potential sexual performance.
- Requesting details of a student's sexual history.
- Requesting a date, sexual contact, or any activity intended for the sexual gratification of the educator.
- Engaging in conversations regarding the sexual problems, preferences, or fantasies of either party.
- Inappropriate hugging, kissing, or excessive touching.
- Providing the student with drugs or alcohol.
- Violating written directives from school administrators regarding the educator's behavior toward a student.
- Suggestions that a romantic relationship is desired after the student graduates, including post-graduation plans for dating or marriage.
- Any other acts tending to show that the educator solicited a romantic relationship with the student.
19 TAC 249.3(51)