24 P.S. § 2070.9
DATE OF ISSUE: April 9, 2010
REPLACES: Educator Misconduct Complaint Procedures,
BEC 24 P.S. § 2070.9, issued July 1, 1998
This BEC describes the process for filing an Educator Misconduct Complaint, provides a form for doing so, and provides additional related information.
BACKGROUND AND AUTHORITY
The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Office of Chief Counsel is responsible for receiving, reviewing and investigating Educator Misconduct Complaints in accordance with the Professional Educator Discipline Act (24 P.S. § 2070.1a et seq.) and supporting regulations. The Office of Chief Counsel is further responsible for prosecuting formal disciplinary charges before the Professional Standards and Practices Commission. To view a copy of the Professional Educator Discipline Act and more specific information related to the educator misconduct complaint process, visit the Professional Standards and Practices Commission webpage at: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/professional_standards ___practices_commissions/8829.
The professional discipline process is initiated by the filing of a notarized Educator Misconduct Complaint with the Office of Chief Counsel. An Educator Misconduct Complaint may be filed by any interested party within one year from the date of alleged misconduct or the date of the discovery of alleged misconduct. If the alleged misconduct is of a continuing nature, the Educator Misconduct Complaint must be filed within one year of the last date on which the conduct occurred. Complaints involving sexual abuse or exploitation of a child or a student may be filed up until five years after the child or student reaches 18 years of age.
Filing a Complaint
Any interested party may file an Educator Misconduct Complaint about an educator that currently holds a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania professional certificate or a charter school staff member who serves in a position for which professional certification would be required in a public school. It is recommended, however, that when appropriate, individuals consider addressing their concerns and issues with the local school district or charter school prior to filing an Educator Misconduct Complaint.
The following information must be included in every Educator Misconduct Complaint:
· The complainant’s name and contact information, including current mailing address and daytime telephone number;
· Information to identify the educator, including the educator’s full name, available contact information, employing school district or charter school, and position in the school district or charter school;
· Detailed description of educator’s professional misconduct, including the date or dates on which the conduct occurred;
· Copies of documents that support the complaint (do not send originals) (e.g., police reports, court records, medical bills, emails, text messages, correspondence); and
· Information related to complaints filed with other agencies (e.g., school district or charter school, police, children and youth services).
In completing the Educator Misconduct Complaint, it is very important to be specific and to include the following information when describing the professional misconduct: What happened? Who was involved? When did the conduct occur? Where did the conduct occur?
The Educator Misconduct Complaint must be signed in the presence of a notary and the notary's original stamp and signature must be affixed. The completed complaint form and related materials must be sent to the address found on the Educator Misconduct Complaint.
The Professional Educator Discipline Act provides that the educator misconduct complaint process is confidential and that any unauthorized release of confidential information is a misdemeanor of the third degree. 24 P.S. § 2070.10 and § 2070.17. Please be advised that all information relating to complaints must remain confidential unless or until public discipline is imposed. Thus, the filing of an Educator Misconduct Complaint, the Department’s investigation of a complaint and the disposition of the complaint prior to the imposition of public discipline, as well as any and all information learned as a result of the Department's investigation, is strictly confidential.
24 P.S. §2070.1b
24 P.S. §2070.9
24 P.S. §2070.10
24 P.S. §2070.17
Educator Misconduct Complaint Form (PDE-348) (requires Microsoft WORD)
Pennsylvania Department of Education
Office of Chief Counsel
333 Market Street, 9th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: (717) 787-5500