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Sunday, June 24, 2012

NYSED: Q & A About Teacher Discipline

1.      What type of complaints against teachers, administrators, or other certified 
       school personnel can I file with the Education Department?

Generally, a complaint should be filed if you have information that a 

       certified educator has been convicted of a crime or committed an act that 
      raises a serious question as to his or to her moral character, or when you 
      believe that the conduct of a teacher or administrator poses a threat to the 
      welfare of a child or a school community. Complaints concerning incompetence, 
      negligence, or dissatisfaction with teaching style or philosophy will typically 
     not result in State action against certification. Those issues should be reported 
     directly to your local school district.

2.      Should I first file my complaint at the local level, e.g., school principal 
       or superintendent of schools, before filing with the State?

We encourage you to file your complaint at the local level first since 

      many complaints against certificate holders are satisfactorily resolved at 
      this level with remedial action. This office, however, has the authority to 
      initiate a separate investigation against a
certificate holder. 

3.      Can I file a complaint against a teacher who is employed in a private school?

You may file a complaint against a teacher who is employed in a non-public 

      school if the teacher is certified. This office has the authority to investigate 
      the conduct of certificate holders and refer the matter to the professional conduct 
     officer for action when appropriate.   

4.      Can I file a complaint against a teaching assistant or teacher's aide?

This office only has the authority to investigate individuals who hold 

      or who are applicants for certification. Generally, teaching assistants are 
      certified by the Education Department and teacher aides are not. Complaints 
      against an uncertified individual should be directed to the school principal or 
      to the superintendent of schools.  
5.      If I file a complaint how will I know if it has been received?

Receipt of your complaint will be acknowledged in writing. Thereafter, it 

      will be assigned to an investigator, who may contact you to discuss your 
      complaint in greater detail. 

6.      At the conclusion of the investigation of my complaint, what happens next?

If the investigation fails to support sufficient evidence to proceed, the case will be 
      closed with no further action taken. You will be advised in writing of the closure 
     of the case. If after investigation there is a sufficient basis to initiate action against 
    the questioned certificate holder, a recommendation will be made to the State 
    Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching to consider whether to 
     proceed to a formal administrative hearing.  

7.      Will I be required to testify at an administrative hearing if my complaint goes 
    that far?

As part of the hearing process, evidence will be presented and testimony provided
by witnesses and others to address whether the certificate holder lacks good moral
character. The Department may ask you to testify under oath at the hearing. 

8.      What types of penalties can be imposed against a certificate holder following an 
administrative hearing?

The range of penalties includes the imposition of a fine, continuing education,
certificate suspension, certificate revocation, and the denial to be issued a certificate
in the case of an applicant. 

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