§ 233.113. Disciplinary proceedings.
(a) Disciplinary proceedings will be initiated and conducted in accordance with sections 9 and 9.29.5 of the act (24 P. S. § § 2070.9 and 2070.9b2070.9e) and § § 233.114233.122.
(b) At any disciplinary proceeding conducted by or on behalf of the Commission, the affected educator is entitled to represent himself or be represented by legal counsel. No other designated representative other than legal counsel will be permitted to appear on behalf of the affected educator.
(c) The Commission considers allegations of misconduct on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the details specific to each case. The overall purposes of the educator discipline system and the Commissions responsibility in imposing sanctions are as follows: protecting the public from educators who are unfit to discharge their professional duties and ensuring the safety and security of students and others in schools in this Commonwealth; preserving the integrity and reputation of the teaching profession and the publics confidence in the profession; declaring and upholding proper standards of conduct and performance; determining the continued fitness of an educator to remain in the profession and, whenever possible, rehabilitating the educator; and deterring further unethical conduct. The discipline, if any, to be imposed in a particular case will depend upon the facts and circumstances of the case, will be fashioned in light of the purposes of educator discipline in this subsection and will take into account aggravating or mitigating circumstances. The Commission strives to ensure that similar violations result in similar outcomes and that the sanction or combination of sanctions that it decides to impose is both sufficient and no more than is necessary to achieve the purposes of sanctions. When applying these principles and crafting appropriate sanctions, the Commission may consider one or more of the following factors, as it deems appropriate:
(1) The seriousness and circumstances surrounding the misconduct.
(2) The extent, severity and imminence of danger to students, other educators or the public.
(3) Whether the misconduct involved sexual misconduct, or sexual abuse or exploitation.
(4) The status of the victim, if any, including the victims age or special vulnerability.
(5) The harm or adverse impact to students or other persons.
(6) The harm or adverse impact to the educators employer and to the profession.
(7) If the misconduct or violation is an isolated occurrence, part of a continuing pattern or one of a series of incidents.
(8) The educators state of mind at the time of the misconduct (that is, negligent, reckless or intentional).
(9) The pecuniary benefit or other gain inuring to the educator by virtue of the misconduct.
(10) Whether the conduct was criminal in nature.
(11) The likelihood of a recurrence of the misconduct or violation.
(12) The age and level of maturity of the students served by the educator.
(13) The danger that students will imitate the educators behavior or use it as a model.
(14) The educators level of experience.
(15) The educators past performance and performance following the misconduct or violation.
(16) The educators prior disciplinary record, including warnings, or absence of a prior disciplinary record.
(17) Timely good faith effort to make restitution or to rectify the consequences of the misconduct.
(18) Meaningful and sustained period of successful rehabilitation.
(19) Impositions of other penalties or sanctions, including local disciplinary action.
(20) The educators attitude and conduct during the disciplinary proceedings.
(21) The deterrence impact of the sanction.
(22) Penalties imposed in other cases for similar violations.
(23) Other extenuating circumstances or other factors bearing on the appropriate nature of a disciplinary sanction.
(d) After completion of a preliminary or full investigation, the Department may enter into a written settlement agreement with the educator.
(1) Settlement agreements must be presented to the Commission or a panel of members of the Commission for approval or disapproval.
(2) The Commission will promptly approve the settlement agreement if it is deemed by the Commission to be fair and just and the interests of the parties and the public interest have been considered.
(3) Once approved by the Commission, a settlement agreement will become a final order of the Commission.
(4) If the Commission disapproves a settlement agreement, the agreement will not be enforceable and the parties retain all rights they had prior to the execution of the agreement.
(5) Admissions made by an educator in a settlement agreement that is ultimately rejected by the Commission may not be used against the educator in a formal disciplinary proceeding. This subsection does not prevent the Department from offering, at a formal disciplinary hearing, other evidence to prove factual matters disclosed in a settlement agreement.
(6) Whenever an educator surrenders his educator certification or employment eligibility, the Department shall request an order from the Commission accepting the educators surrender.
The provisions of this § 233.113 adopted May 3, 2002, effective May 4, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 2226; amended September 11, 2015, effective September 12, 2015, 45 Pa.B. 5586. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (289672).
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