UTAH (ABC4) – In light of a recent walkout involving students at Rockwell Charter High School accusing a teacher of sexual harassment, ABC4 News took a closer look at how the Utah Board of Education handles complaints involving teachers.
Director of Law and Professional Practices for the Utah Board of Education, Ben Rasmussen said parents should first talk to a principal and possibly a superintendent about the concerning behavior. If a parent does not believe it is being properly handled, they can also file a complaint online. Rasmussen said on an average year they review around 90 complaints, most of which are filed by school administrators.
If the Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission (UPPAC) decides to open a case, an investigative attorney is assigned.
The attorney “gathers the evidence and determines whether the board should take licensing action from there,” said Rasmussen.
The commission, which is composed of six teachers, three licensed educators and two community members who are nominated by the state makes a recommendation.
- Dismissal: UPPAC determines Utah’s Educator Standards were not violated.
- Letter of Education: UPPAC determines education standards were not violated, but conduct could lead to a violation in the future.
- Letter of Warning: UPPAC determines a violation occurred, but it is relatively minor.
- Reprimand: UPPAC determines violation is more serious and puts a flag on the educator’s account. The educator can continue teaching throughout the reprimand period.
- Suspension: This can range from one to ten years depending on severity. During this time, the instructor cannot work or volunteer in K-12 schools.
- Revocation: A few examples of mandatory revocation include: A convicted felony of a sexual nature, misdemeanor sexual offense involving a minor, and specific sexual acts or touching of a student.
UPPAC makes a final recommendation for the State Board of Education. That elected body makes the final decision.