Amidst growing demands for reforms, New York State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa voiced her support for legislative changes that would allow the Department of Education to suspend teaching licenses of educators accused of sexual misconduct and violent acts.
Present regulations prevent any action against the teaching licenses until a criminal conviction is obtained or the conclusion of a drawn-out hearing process evaluating the educator’s moral integrity. This means accused teachers can resign and apply for positions in other districts, even in the face of severe accusations.
While Commissioner Rosa’s proposal to reform state laws has garnered support, it has also raised concerns about meeting the suggested “corroborated evidence” criteria.
Experts emphasized the challenge of obtaining corroborated evidence, especially in instances of sexual assault, which typically occurs in secret. Nevertheless, the Education Department stresses that the evidence standards in their administrative hearings are less rigorous than those in criminal trials.
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