Q: What are the reporting requirements in cases of teacher misconduct?
A: Superintendents must report two general categories of information to the Texas Education Agency (TEA): the reported criminal history of an applicant or holder of a State Board for Educator Certification certificate or permit; and educator misconduct that results in termination or resignation.
Dismissal or resignation. The dismissal or resignation of an educator must be reported whenever the termination is based on a determination that the employee was involved in any of the following:
Information must be reported in writing no later than seven calendar days after the superintendent first becomes aware of the conduct (TEC §21.006 and 19 TAC §249.14). Failure to report the required information may result in possible sanctions of a superintendent’s certificate (e.g., reprimand, suspension, or revocation).
Resignations and investigations. The superintendent is also required to notify TEA when a certified employee resigns and there is reasonable evidence that would support a recommendation to terminate employment because of conduct listed above. If the educator is suspected of abuse or other unlawful conduct involving a student or minor, the superintendent must complete an investigation despite the educator’s resignation (TEC §21.006 (b-1)).
In such a circumstance, before a resignation is accepted, the superintendent must inform the employee in writing that a report will be made to TEA that could result in sanctions against his or her certificate. The superintendent must also notify the board of trustees prior to filing a report with TEA (19 TAC §249.14). Settlements with departing employees do not supersede the duty to report misconduct resulting in a resignation.
The requirement to complete an investigation was signed into law as House Bill 1610 and became effective for the 2011–12 school year. The requirement applies to an investigation that begins on or after the June 17, 2011, regardless of when the alleged misconduct occurred. If local police take over an investigation, the superintendent should send TEA a letter informing the agency that the district’s responsibility for the investigation has been transferred to police jurisdiction.