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Sunday, December 28, 2008

NYS Assembly Considers Removing Teachers After a Conviction
Bipartisan support for NY law to remove convicted educators
By MICHAEL GORMLEY, Associated Press Writer, May 21, 2008


The Assembly's Democratic majority plans to introduce a bill similar to a Senate measure that would immediately revoke the certification of a teacher or administrator convicted of felonies, including sexual misconduct and embezzlement.

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin,(picture) a Westchester County Democrat, says she plans to sponsor the bill in her Democrat-led chamber.

Paulin said she supports the bill because it will protect children and fix a flawed system.

"This bill will obviate the inefficiency inherent in the current process, and protect school children by providing that upon conviction of, or pleading guilty to, a felony sex offense, a school employee's certification or license will be automatically and immediately revoked," Paulin said.

Senate Education Committee Chairman Stephen Saland, a Poughkeepsie Republican, says the current hearing process can cost taxpayers $150,000 per case, even after an educator is convicted of a crime.

Saland (pictured at left) says the measure is also backed by state Education Commissioner Richard Mills.(at right)

"The Regents and the commissioner support the goals of this bill and are working with both houses of the Legislature to ensure that the enacted version addresses the complexities in administering this matter," said Mills' spokesman, Tom Dunn.

Both chambers must pass the same bill for it to become law.

State records reviewed by The Associated Press in 2005 and 2007 included hundreds of cases in which state investigators and attorneys convened hearings for educators who already were convicted or pleaded to crimes. Several hearings were held in prisons.

The records were used in 2007 AP stories that showed the number of "moral conduct" accusations against teachers, administrators and aides had doubled in five years. In all, 485 misconduct cases were reported over five years, most involving sexual misconduct.

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