SENATE WANTS TO CRACK DOWN ON TEACHER MISCONDUCT

JACKSON – The Senate approved a bill Wednesday that places harsher consequences on abusive teachers.

House Bill No. 641 was passed unanimously in the Senate and heads back to the House for approval of Senate amendments.

Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant said the bill aims to protect the state’s children. Reports show at least five Mississippi teachers were charged last year with sexual misconduct.

“This legislation tightens the punishment for such unacceptable behavior toward our children in Mississippi,” Bryant said.

HB 641 is designed to protect students from inappropriate contact with their teachers. Under the proposed legislation, a teacher or administrator’s license will be revoked or suspended if that teacher or administrator engages in an inappropriate relationship with a student. The license of a teacher who fails to report a school employee’s misconduct with a student will also be suspended or revoked.

The bill also places a greater burden on superintendents to provide notice of reported incidences of misconduct to local district attorneys, the State Department of Education and the Mississippi Department of Human Services. If the superintendent fails to do so, he or she could face up to $1,000 in fines and six months in jail.

HB 641: http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2011/pdf/history/HB/HB0641.xml

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Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant
3/2/11