Bill strengthens teacher discipline

Friday, January 18, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The state would have greater authority to discipline teachers under legislation pending before a House committee.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Randall Relford makes several changes to the process by which teachers' licenses may be denied or disciplinary action imposed on licensed teachers.

It also clarifies that the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and school districts may file licensure charges and that that cases may be settled informally by agreements or voluntary surrender of licenses.

Those decisions would also be subject to judicial review under the bill, heard Thursday by the House Education Committee.

People who lie to obtain a license or have had disciplinary action taken against them in another state could also lose their license under the bill.

"It's our obligation if we expect higher standards and quality performance from our students, we should expect no less from the people involved in the everyday operation of the schools," said Relford, D-Cameron.

A similar bill failed last year because its language confused some lawmakers. Relford said those concerns had been addressed over the summer.

Gov. Bob Holden supports the legislation as part of an overall emphasis on improving education, said Holden staffer Caleb Weaver.

"We hope this piece of legislation will land on the governor's desk," Weaver said.

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