§ 233.114. Confidentiality and unauthorized release of information.
(a) Under section 17.2 of the act (24 P. S. § 2070.17b), information relating to complaints, or proceedings relating to or resulting from complaints, including the identity of the complainant, will remain confidential unless discipline, other than a private reprimand or a supplemental sanction deemed private by the Commission, is ordered. If proceedings, after the exhaustion of all appeals, result in discipline, other than a private reprimand or a supplemental sanction deemed private by the Commission, all records pertaining thereto will become public. Records relating to immediate discipline are public at the time the immediate discipline is imposed.
(b) Disclosure of information previously made public as a result of action by a school entity to discipline or dismiss an educator for cause or as a result of an educator having been formally charged with or convicted of a crime is permitted. The confidentiality provisions of the act are not intended to prohibit a school entity from using information previously known, or received through its own investigation, in fulfillment of its duties under the Public School Code of 1949 (24 P. S. § § 1-10127-2702), including those duties associated with local dismissal proceedings.
(c) Members, staff and employees of the Commission, the Department, local school entities and participants in disciplinary proceedings shall comply with the confidentiality requirements of the act. Correspondence between and among the Commissioners and staff persons containing confidential material will be marked as personal and confidential, and precaution will be taken to avoid unauthorized disclosure.
(d) Under section 17.2 of the act, a person who releases or gives out information deemed confidential under the act, without the authorization of the Commission or as authorized by the act, commits a misdemeanor of the third degree, unless the information was known to the person or available independently of the disciplinary proceeding.
(e) Petitions for authorization to release information under section 17.2 of the act shall be filed with the Commission in accordance with 1 Pa. Code § 35.17 (relating to petitions generally). Petitions shall be served on all interested parties, including the Department and the affected educator. Interested parties shall have 20 days or the number of days set by the Commission from the date of service to respond to the petition. In determining whether to grant the petition, the Commission will consider the public interest and the interests of all affected parties, including the petitioner, the educator and the Department.
(f) This section does not apply to reinstatement proceedings or to proceedings under section 9.2 or 9.5 of the act (24 P. S. § § 2070.9b and 2070.9e).
(g) Nothing in this section is intended to deny an educator access to information necessary to prepare a defense in a disciplinary proceeding or to protect an individual from civil liability if the individual participated in the disciplinary process under the act maliciously or provided false information that the individual knew, or had reason to know, was false.
(h) The Commission, in releasing information to the public, will take all steps reasonably possible to protect the identity of any child or student involved in the disciplinary proceeding.
The provisions of this § 233.114 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 pages (289672) to (289673).
This section cited in 22 Pa. Code § 233.113 (relating to disciplinary proceedings).
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