Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 5400

February Session, 2016

 

LCO No. 1881

 

*01881_______JUD*

Referred to Committee on JUDICIARY

 

Introduced by:

 

(JUD)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING THE DISCLOSURE OF CERTAIN EDUCATION PERSONNEL RECORDS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 10-221d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2016):

(a) Each local and regional board of education shall (1) require each applicant for [a position in a public school] employment to state whether such [person] applicant has ever been convicted of a crime or whether criminal charges are pending against such [person at the time of such person's application] applicant, (2) [(A) on and after July 1, 2011,] require each applicant [for a position in a public school requiring a certificate, authorization or permit issued pursuant to chapter 166] to submit to a records check of the Department of Children and Families child abuse and neglect registry established pursuant to section 17a-101k, before such applicant may be hired by such board, [and (B) on and after July 1, 2012, require each applicant for a position in a public school that does not require a certificate, authorization or permit issued pursuant to chapter 166 to submit to a records check of the Department of Children and Families child abuse and neglect registry established pursuant to section 17a-101k, before such applicant may be hired by such board,] (3) on and after July 1, 2016, require, subject to the provisions of subsection (d) of this section, each [person hired by the board after July 1, 1994,] applicant for a position to submit to state and national criminal history records checks [within thirty days from the date of] prior to any offer of employment by a local or regional board of education and may require, subject to the provisions of subsection (d) of this section, any person hired prior to said date to submit to state and national criminal history records checks, [and] (4) on and after July 1, 2016, prior to offering any offer of employment to an applicant, comply with the provisions of section 10-222c, as amended by this act, and (5) require each worker (A) placed within a school under a public assistance employment program, (B) employed by a provider of supplemental services pursuant to the No Child Left Behind Act, P.L. 107-110, or (C) [on and after July 1, 2010,] in a nonpaid, noncertified position completing preparation requirements for the issuance of an educator certificate pursuant to chapter 166, who performs a service involving direct student contact to submit to state and national criminal history records checks [within thirty days from the date] before such worker begins to perform such service. The criminal history records checks required by this subsection shall be conducted in accordance with section 29-17a. If the local or regional board of education receives notice of a conviction of a crime which has not previously been disclosed by such person to the board, the board may (i) terminate the contract of a certified employee, in accordance with the provisions of section 10-151, and (ii) dismiss a noncertified employee, provided such employee is notified of the reason for such dismissal, is provided the opportunity to file with the board, in writing, any proper answer to such criminal conviction and a copy of the notice of such criminal conviction, the answer and the dismissal order are made a part of the records of the board. In addition, if the local or regional board of education receives notice of a conviction of a crime by a person (I) holding a certificate, authorization or permit issued by the State Board of Education, (II) employed by a provider of supplemental services, or (III) [on and after July 1, 2010,] in a nonpaid, noncertified position completing preparation requirements for the issuance of an educator certificate pursuant to chapter 166, the local or regional board of education shall send such notice to the State Board of Education. The supervisory agent of a private school may require any applicant for a position in such school or any employee of such school to submit to state and national criminal history records checks in accordance with the procedures described in this subsection.

(b) If a local or regional board of education, endowed or incorporated academy approved by the State Board of Education pursuant to section 10-34, or special education facility approved by the State Board of Education pursuant to section 10-76d requests, a regional educational service center shall arrange for the fingerprinting of any person required to submit to state and national criminal history records checks pursuant to this section or for conducting any other method of positive identification required by the State Police Bureau of Identification or the Federal Bureau of Investigation and shall forward such fingerprints or other positive identifying information to the State Police Bureau of Identification which shall conduct criminal history records checks in accordance with section 29-17a. Such regional educational service center shall maintain such fingerprints or other positive identifying information, which may be in an electronic format, for a period of four years, at the end of which such fingerprints and positive identifying information shall be destroyed. Such regional educational service centers shall provide the results of such checks to such local or regional board of education, endowed or incorporated academy or special education facility. Such regional educational service centers shall provide such results to any other local or regional board of education or regional educational service center upon the request of such person.

(c) State and national criminal history records checks for substitute teachers completed within one year prior to the date of employment with a local or regional board of education and submitted to the employing board of education shall meet the requirements of subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of this section. A local or regional board of education shall not require substitute teachers to submit to state and national criminal history records checks pursuant to subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of this section if they are continuously employed by such local or regional board of education. For purposes of this section, substitute teachers shall be deemed to be continuously employed by a local or regional board of education if they are employed at least one day of each school year by such local or regional board of education.

(d) (1) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a person required to submit to a criminal history records check pursuant to the provisions of subsection (e) of section 14-44.

(2) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a student employed by the local or regional school district in which the student attends school.

(3) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section requiring state and national criminal history records checks shall, at the discretion of a local or regional board of education, apply to a person employed by a local or regional board of education as a teacher for a noncredit adult class or adult education activity, as defined in section 10-67, who is not required to hold a teaching certificate pursuant to section 10-145b for his or her position.

(e) The State Board of Education shall submit, periodically, a database of applicants for an initial issuance of certificate, authorization or permit pursuant to sections 10-144o to 10-149, inclusive, to the State Police Bureau of Identification. The State Police Bureau of Identification shall conduct a state criminal history records check against such database and notify the State Board of Education of any such applicant who has a criminal conviction. The State Board of Education shall not issue a certificate, authorization or permit until it receives and evaluates the results of such check and may deny an application in accordance with the provisions of subsection (i) of section 10-145b.

(f) The State Board of Education shall submit, periodically, a database of all persons who hold certificates, authorizations or permits to the State Police Bureau of Identification. The State Police Bureau of Identification shall conduct a state criminal history records check against such database and shall notify the State Board of Education of any such person who has a criminal conviction. The State Board of Education may revoke the certificate, authorization or permit of such person in accordance with the provisions of subsection (i) of section 10-145b.

(g) The State Board of Education shall require each applicant seeking an initial issuance or renewal of a certificate, authorization or permit pursuant to sections 10-144o to 10-149, inclusive, to submit to a records check of the Department of Children and Families child abuse and neglect registry established pursuant to section 17a-101k. If notification is received that the applicant is listed as a perpetrator of abuse or neglect on the Department of Children and Families child abuse and neglect registry, the board shall deny an application for the certificate, authorization or permit in accordance with the provisions of subsection (i) of section 10-145b, or may revoke the certificate, authorization or permit in accordance with the provisions of said subsection (i).

(h) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (f) of section 31-51i, the Department of Education shall make available to any local or regional board of education requesting information concerning an applicant for a position with such board (1) any information concerning the applicant's eligibility for employment in a position with such board, (2) whether the department has knowledge that the applicant has been disciplined for a finding of abuse or sexual misconduct, as defined in section 10-222c, as amended by this act, and any information concerning such a finding, and (3) whether the department has received notification of criminal charges pending against the applicant and any information concerning such charges.

Sec. 2. Section 10-222c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2016):

(a) No local or regional board of education shall offer employment to an applicant for a position, including any position which is contracted for, if such applicant would have direct student contact, prior to such board:

(1) Requiring of such applicant:

(A) To list the name, address and telephone number of each current or former employer of the applicant, provided any such current or former employer was a local or regional board of education or if such employment otherwise caused the applicant to have contact with children;

(B) A written authorization that (i) consents to and authorizes disclosure by the employers listed under subparagraph (A) of this subdivision of the information requested under subdivision (2) of this subsection and the release of related records by such employers, and (ii) releases those employers from liability that may arise from such disclosure or release of records pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection; and

(C) A written statement of whether the applicant (i) has been the subject of an abuse or sexual misconduct investigation by any employer, state agency or municipal police department, unless the investigation resulted in a finding that all allegations were false, (ii) has ever been disciplined or asked to resign from employment or resigned from or otherwise separated from any employment while an allegation of abuse or sexual misconduct was pending or under investigation, or due to a finding of abuse or sexual misconduct, or (iii) has ever had a professional or occupational license or certificate suspended or revoked or has ever surrendered such a license or certificate while an allegation of abuse or sexual misconduct was pending or under investigation, or due to a finding of abuse or sexual misconduct;

(2) Conducting a review of the employment history of the applicant by submitting to those employers listed by the applicant under subdivision (1) of this subsection a form developed by the Department of Education in accordance with section 3 of this act that shall request (A) the dates of employment of the applicant, (B) a statement as to whether the employer has knowledge that the applicant (i) was the subject of any abuse or sexual misconduct investigation by any employer, state agency or municipal police department, unless such investigation resulted in a finding that all allegations were false; (ii) was disciplined or asked to resign from employment or resigned from or otherwise separated from any employment while an allegation of abuse or sexual misconduct was pending or under investigation, or due to a finding of abuse or sexual misconduct; or (iii) has ever had a professional or occupational license or certificate suspended or revoked or has ever surrendered such a license or certificate while an allegation of abuse or sexual misconduct was pending or under investigation, or due to a finding of abuse or sexual misconduct. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (f) of section 31-51i, not later than twenty days after any current employer of the applicant and not later than sixty days after any former employer of the applicant receives a form requesting such information, such employer shall complete and return the form to the local or regional board of education requesting such information. A local or regional board of education may request more information concerning any response made by a current or former employer, and, notwithstanding the provisions of said subsection (f), such employer shall respond not later than sixty days after receiving such request; and

(3) Request information from the Department of Education concerning (A) the eligibility status for employment of any applicant for the position, (B) whether the department has knowledge that the applicant has been disciplined for a finding of abuse or sexual misconduct and any information concerning such a finding, and (C) whether the department has received notification of criminal charges pending against the applicant and any information concerning such charges.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (f) of section 31-51i, any local or regional board of education that receives information that an applicant for a position with or an employee of the board has been disciplined for a finding of abuse or sexual misconduct shall notify the Department of Education of such information.

(c) No local or regional board of education shall employ an applicant for a position involving direct student contact who does not comply with the provisions of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this section.

(d) A local or regional board of education may employ or contract with an applicant on a temporary basis for a period not to exceed ninety days, pending such board's review of information received under this section, provided:

(1) The applicant complied with subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this section;

(2) The board has no knowledge of information pertaining to the applicant that would disqualify the applicant from employment with the board; and

(3) The applicant affirms that the applicant is not disqualified from employment with such board.

(e) No local or regional board of education shall enter into a collective bargaining agreement, an employment contract, and an agreement for resignation or termination, a severance agreement or any other contract or agreement or take any action that:

(1) Has the effect of suppressing information relating to an investigation of a report of suspected abuse or sexual misconduct by a current or former employee;

(2) Affects the ability of the local or regional board of education to report suspected abuse or sexual misconduct to appropriate authorities; or

(3) Requires the local or regional board of education to expunge information about an allegation or a finding of suspected abuse or sexual misconduct from any documents maintained by the board, unless after investigation such allegation is dismissed or found to be false.

(f) No local or regional board of education shall offer employment to a person as a substitute teacher, unless such person and the board comply with the provisions of subsection (a) of this section. The board shall determine which such persons are employable as substitute teachers and maintain a list of such persons. No board shall hire any person as a substitute teacher who is not on such list. Such person shall remain on such list as long as such person is continuously employed by the board as a substitute teacher, as described in subsection (c) of section 10-221d, as amended by this act, provided the board does not have any knowledge of a reason that such person should be removed from such list.

(g) In the case of an applicant who is a contractor, the contractor shall require any employee with such contractor who would be in a position involving direct student contact to supply to such contractor all information required of an applicant under subparagraphs (A) and (C) of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this section and a written authorization under subparagraph (B) of said subdivision. Such contractor shall contact any current or former employer of such employee and request any information concerning whether there was a finding of abuse or sexual misconduct against such employee. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (f) of section 31-51i, such employer shall report to the contractor any such finding. If the contractor receives any information indicating such a finding or otherwise has knowledge of such a finding, the contractor shall, notwithstanding the provisions of said subsection (f), immediately forward such information to any local or regional board of education with which the contractor is under contract. Any local or regional board of education that receives such information shall determine whether such employee may work in a position involving direct student contact at any school under the board's jurisdiction. No determination by a local or regional board of education that any such employer shall not work under any such contract in any such position shall constitute a breach of such contract.

(h) Any applicant who provides false information or knowingly fails to disclose information required in subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this section shall be subject to discipline by the employing local or regional board of education that may include (1) denial of employment, or (2) (A) termination of the contract of a certified employee, in accordance with the provisions of section 10-151, or (B) dismissal of a noncertified employee, provided such employee is notified of the reason for such dismissal and is provided the opportunity to file with the board, in writing, any response to the information leading to the dismissal, which with the dismissal order shall be part of the records of the board.

(i) Any employer who provides information in accordance with subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of this section or subsection (g) of this section shall be immune from criminal and civil liability, provided the employer did not knowingly supply false information.

(j) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 10-151c and subsection (f) of section 31-51i, a local or regional board of education shall provide upon request by any other local or regional board of education for the purposes of an inquiry pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of this section or subsection (g) of this section or to the Commissioner of Education pursuant to subsection (b) of this section any information that the board has concerning a finding of abuse or sexual misconduct by a subject applicant of any such inquiry.

(k) If the State Board of Education determines that a local or regional board of education negligently or knowingly violated any provision of this section, the State Board of Education may require the local or regional board of education to forfeit of the total sum which is paid to such board of education from the State Treasury, an amount to be determined by the State Board of Education, which amount shall be not less than one thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars. The amount so forfeited shall be withheld from a grant payment, as determined by the commissioner, during the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which noncompliance is determined pursuant to this subsection.

(l) Local and regional boards of education shall report to the State Board of Education any suspected violation by a contractor of the provisions of subsection (a) or (g) of this section. The State Board of Education shall review each such report to determine whether any such provision was knowingly violated. The board shall make available a list with each contractor found to have knowingly violated said subsection (a) or (g) to local and regional boards of education. No local or regional board of education shall contract with any such contractor.

(m) For purposes of this section and section 10-221d, as amended by this act, (1) "sexual misconduct" means any verbal, nonverbal, written or electronic communication, or any other act directed toward or with a student that is designed to establish a romantic or sexual relationship with the student, including a sexual or romantic invitation, dating or soliciting a date, engaging in sexualized or romantic dialog, making sexually suggestive comments, self-disclosure or physical exposure of a sexual, romantic or erotic nature and any other sexual, indecent, romantic or erotic contact with a student; and (2) "abuse" means a violation of section 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-71, 53a-72a, 53a-72b or 53a-73a, or as described in section 46b-120.

(n) Prior to [hiring any person] offering employment to an applicant, a local or regional board of education shall make a documented good faith effort to contact [previous employers] each former employer of the [person] applicant in order to obtain information and recommendations which may be relevant to the [person's] applicant's fitness for employment.

(o) No local or regional board of education shall offer employment to any applicant who had any previous employment contract terminated by a board or who resigned from such employment, if such person has been convicted of a violation of section 17a-101a, regardless of whether an allegation of abuse or neglect or sexual assault has been substantiated.

Sec. 3. (Effective from passage) Not later than June 30, 2016, the Department of Education shall make available to local and regional boards of education a standardized form directing an employer to provide information pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 10-222c, as amended by this act, to a local or regional board of education requesting such information.

Sec. 4. Subsection (a) of section 10-145 of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2016):

(a) No teacher, supervisor, administrator, special service staff member or school superintendent, except as provided for in section 10-157, shall be employed in any of the schools of any local or regional board of education unless such person possesses an appropriate state certificate, nor shall any such person be entitled to any salary unless such person can produce such certificate dated prior to or on the first day of employment, except as provided for in section 10-157; provided nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent the board of education from prescribing qualifications additional to those prescribed by the regulations of the State Board of Education and provided nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent any local or regional board of education from contracting with a licensed drivers' school approved by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles for the behind-the-wheel instruction of a driver instruction course, to be given by driving instructors licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. No person shall be employed in any of the schools of any local or regional board of education as a substitute teacher unless such person (1) holds a bachelor's degree, provided the Commissioner of Education may waive such requirement for good cause upon the request of a superintendent of schools, and (2) is on a list maintained by the local or regional board of education pursuant to subsection (f) of section 10-222c, as amended by this act.

Sec. 5. Section 10-221w of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes is repealed. (Effective July 1, 2016)

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2016

10-221d

Sec. 2

July 1, 2016

10-222c

Sec. 3

from passage

New section

Sec. 4

July 1, 2016

10-145(a)

Sec. 5

July 1, 2016

Repealer section

Statement of Purpose:

To ensure that local and regional boards of education have information concerning whether an applicant has been found to have committed abuse or sexual misconduct and that local and regional boards of education share such findings with other boards of education who may employ such applicant.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]