Teaching Board Won’t Report Misconduct

Bipartisan Condemnation

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MINNEAPOLIS- According to a report done by KSTP, the Minnesota board responsible for teacher licensing has not disclosed teacher misconduct.  

During the course of their background investigation of candidates for teachers licenses or reissuing of licenses, the board discovered that some teachers had engaged in certain types of misconduct including sexual misconduct. The board defends its actions saying that it has the discretion to determine in the course of its investigation what is a criminal behavior.

However, the report followed up with an interview with an attorney, Janet Reiter indicated the board is not capable of discerning what is and what is not criminal behavior. Reiter had been part of an investigation into one of the 17 teachers who had been accused of misconduct that the board had failed to disclose to law enforcement.

John Hughes, the teacher in question, was convicted of fourth degree criminal sexual assault this year. Criminal investigators determined that a student had reported that Hughes had sexual contact with her back in 2000, and while the board had revoked Hughes teaching license, they did not report the incident to law enforcement.

The failure of the board to condemn these incidents have been panned across the ail.

“It is disgraceful that these incidents were not immediately reported to law enforcement,” Gov. Mark Dayton claimed to KTSP.“This Board has a moral responsibility to ensure that all Minnesota teachers are properly qualified, and to protect the safety of our schoolchildren.”

However, as Jennifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie) pointed out in her interview with KTSP, many of the appointments to this board are people that Dayton had put there himself.

While a law passed last session will require that the board report the allegations to law enforcement, this law is limited to only when the board decides to take disciplinary action.

According to KTSP, Jim Davnie (D-Minneapolis) believes that the legislature should, “pass a stand-alone bill that ensures the members of the Board of Teaching are mandatory reporters of sexual misconduct.”

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