Initial users of the Do Not Hire Registry have posed some interesting questions, including “Who should districts expect to see on the list?” and “Is it necessary to check all current employees?”
The Do Not Hire Registry (Registry) became available for use on January 6, and in the first few days more than 600 users accessed the portal. Below are answers to some of the questions these early adopters asked.
Who should we expect to see on the Registry?
The Registry is a list of individuals who are ineligible to work in public schools based on misconduct or criminal history. Pursuant to HB3 of the 86th legislature, the list includes non-certified individuals who are ineligible for hire or employment and previously certified individuals whose certification has been revoked for:
- Abusing or committing an unlawful act with a student or minor
- Being involved in a romantic relationship with a student or minor
- Soliciting or engaging in sexual contact with a student or minor
Other issues related to certification, including status as investigation warning (i.e., under investigation), voluntary surrender, suspended, reprimand, and restricted, are not designated currently in the Registry.
Are there any special issues to consider when a person is listed as “under investigation?”
At this time, only non-certified individuals who are under investigation by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Educator Investigations Division for one of the above listed allegations will have this designation in the Registry. This notation means an allegation of misconduct is currently being investigated by TEA, and the individual’s employability status has not been determined.
Certified individuals under investigation are not listed as such in the Do Not Hire Registry at this time.
How do we confirm the status of a certified individual?
Districts need to check the Do Not Hire Registry and the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) databases. A certified individual’s status as under investigation for alleged misconduct or other action will only be noted in the SBEC database.
In March 2020, TEA expects to include information about any active disciplinary sanctions or pending investigations against an individual’s SBEC certificate in the Registry. Until that time, districts need to check a certified individual’s status in both databases. TEA advises districts to either check the Official Record of Educator Certificates or search the File Transfer-Certification info screen in ECOS to obtain certificate status and any SBEC disciplinary action.
Are we required to check the status of current employees?
Yes, districts are required to check the Registry for all current employees. This process may seem daunting, but districts can upload up to 2,500 names at a time. Districts may explore using regular automated uploads, especially if they’re already using such processes to connect with the SBEC database.
What happens if a current employee is ineligible to work in a public school?
Statute requires a district to terminate any individual listed on the Registry, as such a person is not eligible to work in public schools. Districts faced with terminating a contract employee must follow Chapter 21 procedures to terminate the contract and may need to contact local counsel to determine the best course of action. Contract employees who show up as ineligible to work in a public school should immediately be put on paid administrative leave while next steps are determined.
How long will uploaded results be available through the Registry?
Results are currently posted indefinitely. However, TEA is planning on removing updated results after a period of time to ensure districts are using the most current information. The removals likely will not start until March.
Additional information is available in the HRX article, HB 3 FAQ: Reporting Misconduct and the “Do Not Hire” Registry. The TEA website includes a recently updated FAQ with additional information on the Registry and fingerprinting and instructions for accessing the Registry and searching records. Questions on access and using the Registry can be directed to the TEA Help Desk.
April Mabry is an assistant director at TASB HR Services. Send April an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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