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Utah's Lax Teacher Discipline May Allow More Offenses

The state auditor examined how Utah’s public education system sanctions educators found guilty of misconduct and handed down four findings:

By Paighten Harkins

Shortcomings in the way Utah educators are disciplined could — and, in one documented case, did — allow them to reoffend, according to a report released Tuesday.

The state auditor examined how Utah’s public education system sanctions educators found guilty of misconduct and handed down four findings:

• In “several cases” local education agencies — school districts and charter schools — violated state law by not reporting educator misconduct to the Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission, which investigates such claims.

• The failure to report misconduct may have allowed teachers fired for misconduct to reoffend at other schools.

• School officials making hiring decisions don’t have easy access to information about past misconduct from applicants.

• Despite all that, the school board’s licensing discipline “has improved.”

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