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State Board of Education considers substance abuse, misconduct rules

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The State Board of Education is poised to consider new rules next week, including a requirement that all public schools begin teaching students each year about youth substance abuse.

Under the rule, which will be considered during a meeting Aug. 21 in Broward County, school districts would need to report to the state their methods of instruction and the resources used to teach students about substance abuse.

Schools would also be mandated to report the professional qualifications of people teaching the classes, according to the rule.

If schools do not meet the requirements, they could face sanctions, according to the proposal.

Another proposal slated for consideration would require school superintendents to promptly report to the state Department of Education when they learn about teacher or administrator misconduct. School districts would have 24 hours to notify the state department about arrests, convictions or “substantiated” allegations of misconduct related to any administrative or instructional personnel.

The list of crimes the state wants to know about include 10 felonies and one misdemeanor, such as murder, luring or enticing a child or unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

If approved, the new reporting mandate would take effect in the 2019-20 school year.

The intent of the rule is described as providing “the department with information which will form the basis of a complaint to recommend revocation, suspension or other penalty of an educator’s certificate.”

The rule is also meant to “provide the commissioner information so that he can exercise his authority to request the reassignment of personnel from direct student contact.”