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New law requires schools to notify Board of Education when teacher is fired for criminal activities

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Fallin has signed a bill requiring schools to report if a teacher is fired due to criminal activities.

Oklahoma Senate Bill 711 was signed Wednesday, according to the bill’s author, Senator John Sparks.

The state Board of Education has always licensed state teachers, but until now, there has been no requirement that local school officials inform the state board about teachers’ criminal misconduct.

According to Senator Sparks, this has allowed teachers to move freely between districts after they’ve been fired due to criminal activities without being reported to the state board.

Under Senate Bill 711, schools will now be required to notify the state board when a teacher is fired due to criminal activities, including reports of sex offenses, embezzlement and other activities which constitute a crime.

It also includes several safeguards to protect wrongly accused teachers.

“This law will help eliminate “teacher hopping” and will keep other school districts from unknowingly hiring teachers who have been accused of misconduct,” said Sparks.  “I commend my fellow legislators, especially co-author Senator Kyle Loveless and principal house author of SB 711, Representative Lee Denney, for supporting this measure all the way to the Governor’s desk.”

The new law will go into effect July 1..

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