On April 9, 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) issued a new Basic Education Circular (BEC) which expands the mandatory reporting procedures for educator misconduct. Under the new BEC, the administration of public school districts, intermediate units, vo-tech schools, career and technology centers, and charter schools are required to report to PDE the following:
- Within 30 days: The dismissal of a certified employee or charter school staff member resulting from official school board action or an arbitrator’s decision;
- Within 30 days: If the administration has notice of a criminal indictment or a criminal conviction for a crime listed in section 111(e)(1)-(3) of the Public School Code or any other crime involving the moral turpitude of a certified employee or charter school staff member; and
- Within 60 days: If the administration receives information creating a reasonable basis to believe that a certified employee or charter school staff member caused physical injury through negligence or malice or has committed sexual abuse or exploitation of a student or any other child.
Failure to comply with these mandatory reporting requirements may result in professional discipline against the chief school administrator. In addition to the above mandatory reporting requirements, PDE strongly encourages the school administration to report an employee who resigns in lieu of discipline or dismissal.
The previous BEC only required that the school entity “promptly” report: 1) the dismissal of a certified employee for cause; and 2) a certified employee who was formally charged or convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or any other offense requiring mandatory suspension or revocation of certification. The previous BEC also required school entities to report the dismissal of any professional employee for cause within 10 days.
The new BEC is currently in effect and requires immediate compliance.