Report: Arizona Board Of Education Sees Dramatic Increase In Discipline Cases Against Educators
The number of discipline cases against Arizona educators has increased dramatically over the past eight years, according to a report by the Arizona Board of Education. In 2012, the board had 55 discipline cases. By 2020, cases have jumped to 179, representing a 225% increase.
Sexual misconduct complaints made up the largest share of cases, or nearly 40%, of formally judged by the board followed by assault cases, 17%. Middle and high school educators had the highest rates of discipline compared to other types of school staff.
“So we’ve targeted a lot of the training and ethics training around that population in serving those middle and high school students and the situations that might resolve from serving those students’ educators," said Jessica Mueller, the board's research and data analyst.
More than half of the cases heard by the board involved suspensions, revocations, application denials or approval and letters of censure, according to Mueller's presentation during the board's Monday meeting. Thirty-seven percent of educators surrendered their certificates to the board.
Two bills in the state Legislature seek to better prevent districts and charters from hiring educators with revoked, suspended or surrendered certificates.
Current state statute already makes this clear for school districts, said Catcher Baden, the board’s deputy director.
“The educator discipline bill clarifies that even if they’re suspended charter schools also should not be hiring them," he said.
The legislation also seeks to broaden the statute’s language to apply to any type of certified educator, not just teachers.
In addition, the legislation directs the board to permanently prohibit employment at a school district or charter school to non certified individuals convicted of crimes against children or sexual misconduct.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The story has been updated to correct the year the Arizona Board of Education had 55 discipline cases.