A bill that passed the House one Legislative Session and died on the calendar in 2020 is back again for 2021.
State Rep. Wyman Duggan, a second-term Republican from Jacksonville, has brought back legislation that would create a list of sketchy classroom teachers, people who might otherwise get reassigned or recur in a different school system absent a statewide accountability measure.
HB 131, which is substantially the same bill as has been seen in previous sessions, would set up a “disqualification list” of school employees that had been fired for bad behavior. This list would foreclose the potential of them moving on to other schools where that behavior could repeat.
Duggan was inspired to file this while campaigning during his first run in House District 15 in 2018, as a voter told him of a situation where a troublesome school employee had had issues at his previous stop that may have been averted had a statewide clearinghouse been in place.
The bill targets those who have “been permanently denied an educator certificate or whose educator certificate has been permanently revoked.” As well, those who have been banned from owning private schools would be on the blacklist maintained by the Department of Education, as would teachers and staff terminated or resigned due to sexual misconduct with a student.
There is a mechanism for removal from the list, involving proof of exoneration or mistaken identity, or a completed law enforcement investigation proving the charges baseless.
The bill targets traditional public schools, but also more non-traditional recipients of state money, including charter institutions and other private schools that get scholarships.
Thus far, there is no Senate sponsor or companion legislation, but expect that to change ahead of March.
A legislative analysis from the 2020 Session held that the bill was not likely to have a fiscal impact.