Investigations

Contact Information

Aaron Ross, Director
Kelly Edwards, Assistant Director

For general questions: educator.conduct@education.ohio.gov

(P) 614-466-5638
(P) 877-644-6338 (toll free)
(F) 614-995-3752

25 S. Front Street, Mail Stop 104
Columbus, OH 43215

 

Investigations

When the Office of Professional Conduct receives a referral about educator misconduct that, after going through the review process, suggests an educator may have engaged in professional misconduct, an investigation is initiated. Professional Conduct investigators will request documents, interview witnesses, and speak to the educator under investigation. On average, investigations take approximately 215 days. Some investigations may take more or less time depending on responsiveness to document requests, availability of witnesses, and complexity of the investigation.

General Questions


General Questions

    What legal authority does the State Board have to investigate educator conduct?

    All investigations regarding educator conduct are conducted pursuant to Ohio Revised Code §3319.311.  This statute gives the State Board of Education legal authority to investigate any information that reasonably appears to be a basis for action over which the State Board has jurisdiction. Ohio Revised Code §3319.31lists the grounds for the State Board to take disciplinary action.

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    Is the educator aware of the investigation?

    During the investigation process, any educator who is being investigated by the Office of Professional Conduct is contacted and given an opportunity to discuss the allegations. The educator has the right to have an attorney represent him/her and participate in an interview. If an educator declines to be interviewed, the investigation will continue without the educator’s input.

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    What are the initial steps in the investigation process?

    When the Office of Professional Conduct opens an investigation, the case is assigned to one of the investigators or professional conduct liaisons in the office. Generally, investigators handle cases involving criminal convictions while professional conduct liaisons investigate allegations of educator conduct that has not resulted in a criminal conviction.

    For each case, the assigned investigator/liaison identifies people and entities that may have relevant information and/or records regarding the allegation. The focus is on identifying people who have personal, first-hand knowledge regarding the alleged conduct. The assigned investigator/liaison will interview all relevant parties and obtain all records related to the allegation.

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    Who is interviewed as part of an investigation?

    The Office of Professional Conduct attempts to contact any person who has relevant information regarding the alleged educator misconduct. Alleged victims and witnesses to the alleged conduct are contacted and interviewed. In addition, if the alleged victims are minors, the parent(s) of the alleged victims are contacted regarding the allegations. Finally, school district personnel, children services workers, police officers, prosecutors and court personnel may be contacted to gain the information they obtained in their professional capacities about the alleged conduct.

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    What records are gathered during an investigation?

    The Office of Professional Conduct attempts to obtain all records regarding the alleged educator misconduct. Written requests for records may be sent to school district personnel, law enforcement, prosecutors, courts, children services agencies and the educator that is being investigated.

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    What if a person does not want to be interviewed or refuses to release records?

    During the course of an investigation, the State Board of Education can serve a subpoena on any person who has relevant information or records regarding an educator’s misconduct. The subpoena compels the person to appear at a particular time and place to testify and/or produce books, accounts, papers, records or documents.

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    What happens when the investigation is complete?

    The Superintendent of Public Instruction reviews the results of each investigation and determines, on behalf of the State Board, whether the results warrant initiating disciplinary action against the educator’s license or application for licensure. If the results of the investigation do not warrant a disciplinary action, the case will be closed. If disciplinary action is warranted, it will be initiated.

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    Are investigations confidential?

    Ohio law requires all information obtained during an investigation to remain confidential. Any finalized disciplinary action would be a public record and available from the Department.

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Last Modified: 1/25/2016 1:12:22 PM