The number of complaints against New York state teachers allegedly involved in inappropriate behavior has almost doubled in the past five years, says a report from the state education department.
In the 2005-06 school year, 134 such cases were brought to the state’s professional-practices subcommittee—an increase of 28 cases since the previous year. The panel has heard a total of 485 cases over the past five years.
The New York State Education Department requires individuals to have the “requisite moral character” needed to hold a teacher or school administrator certificate. Under the law, superintendents must notify the department if a certificate holder is convicted of a crime or commits an act that raises questions about the teacher’s character.
Incidents that would call into question a certificate holder’s moral character include inappropriate relationships with students, sex-related incidents, and incidents involving drug or alcohol use.
The increase in the number of cases could be due to a heightened awareness of appropriate boundaries, better reporting by school districts, increased awareness among law-enforcement officials, and the requirement that prospective school employees get fingerprinted, the report says.
A version of this article appeared in the March 07, 2007 edition of Education Week