State wants to move quickly on school misconduct

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Education wants school districts to quickly report complaints about potential misconduct by school personnel to help expedite investigations that could lead to employees’ removal.

The department on Tuesday announced it is developing a rule that would mandate “quick reporting” by school districts on allegations of misconduct that “affect the health, safety or welfare of a student.”

The rule also seeks to clarify the type of alleged misconduct that would require “expeditious reporting.”

Part of the reason the department is proposing this rule is to have Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran “exercise his authority to recommend removal of school district personnel from direct student contact.”

Since 2010, the department has been required to investigate and take appropriate action on complaints even when accusers have withdrawn complaints or indicated a desire to not have cases investigated anymore.

If alleged misconduct affects the welfare of a student, state law says the commissioner can request the immediate suspension of personnel from their regularly assigned duties, with pay.

The commissioner can also reassign employees to positions that do not require direct contact with students.