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Supt. Hofmeister praises lawmakers for approval of a bill strengthening student safety


OKLAHOMA CITY (May 22, 2015)- State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister praised Oklahoma legislators today for passing a measure that will improve communication between districts and the State Department of Education that will ultimately provide greater protection of students.

Both the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved Senate Bill 711.

Under the measure, school administrators must notify the state Board of Education when a teacher is dismissed or resigns for accusations that are sexual in nature that could form the basis of criminal charges, while also ensuring due process for the teacher.  Previously, school districts faced potential liability for communicating employment information with the State Department of Education, which meant a teacher could simply resign and move to teach in another district.  This has posed a significant safety issue for students, particularly during Oklahoma’s current teacher shortage.

“I am grateful to the legislators for understanding the importance of communication between the state Department of Education and districts on matters of school safety,” Hofmeister said. “This bill will put crucial information into the appropriate hands to provide greater protection of students.”

SB 711 was authored by Sen. John Sparks and Rep. Lee Denney. Co-authors include Sen. Kyle Loveless and Rep. Scott Biggs. The bill now heads to the governor. If signed, the measure will go into effect July 1.

 

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Last updated on May 26, 2015