Proposed bill calls to make teacher board mandated misconduct reporters

January 21, 2019 06:12 PM

When lawmakers return to St. Paul, State Rep. Sondra Erickson plans to drop a bill requiring more teacher background checks, expand crimes that would bar someone from obtaining a teaching license and make the educator licensing board mandated reporters.

"We are always trying to protect our children," said Rep. Erickson, a Princeton Republican. “You know we have great teachers in our state but just tightening up the law is very important."

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The proposal is fueled in part by a 2017 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigation that found Minnesota teachers accused of engaging in sexual misconduct or inappropriate behavior with students have not been reported to law enforcement.

A review of public records and interviews with law enforcement revealed the Minnesota Board of Teaching failed to report at least 17 teachers accused of those allegations dating back to the 1980s.

RELATED: State board failed to report teachers accused of sexual misconduct 

"Now it will be very specific, if this law, proposal is enacted," Rep. Erickson said.

The retired English teacher filed another bill last week on an educator code of ethics.

Erickson’s legislation is building on a bill that passed both chambers but vetoed by now former Gov. Mark Dayton as part of an omnibus bill.

Minnesota’s Board of Teaching has been renamed the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board.

A spokesperson provided 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the following statement, “ PELSB worked closely with legislators in 2018 in the Minnesota House and Senate in support of revisions to teacher ethics statutes to provide clarity to mandatory reporting requirements between agencies. PELSB supported language in the Senate last year that broadened requirements for Board review of certain actions and agreed with language clarifying certain crimes as automatic revocation offenses for a teaching license. The Board has also worked with members of the House last session on proposed statutory language for criminal offenses that would automatically revoke a teacher’s license to ensure that it would not result in the inadvertent revocation of a license when a teacher is convicted of a minor offense. PELSB has already begun conversations with state legislators about changes to teacher ethics statutes, including creating additional language that would provide further clarifications left out of last year’s proposals.”

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has assembled two databases from public records on file at the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board Office (formerly the Minnesota Board of Teaching) and the Minnesota Board of School Administrators Office in Roseville.

Minnesota Teacher Database

The documents listed include disciplinary action against teachers and administrators by the boards for a variety of reasons.

 

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Eric Chaloux

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