Colorado teachers union challenges arrest disclosure rule

Jul 9, 2011 by

FORT COLLINS — Colorado’s largest teachers union is challenging new rules requiring schools to notify parents about teacher arrests.

The Colorado Education Association has filed a lawsuit, claiming the rules are “arbitrary,” “vague” and an “abuse of or a clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion,” the Fort Collins Coloradoan reported Friday.

The union wants a judge to throw out the rules because they may harm a teacher’s reputation, noting that arrests represent an accusation of wrongdoing, not a finding of guilt. The union also said it’s possible that a teacher could be mistaken for someone else arrested with the same name.

The rules apply to school employees for public schools, including charter schools, who have contact with students. They were adopted by the bipartisan State Board of Education this spring after an investigation by the newspaper revealed that the state education department wasn’t always following a 2008 state law requiring that it pass along arrest information to school districts.

Under the new rules, school districts must notify students’ parents when employees are arrested or charged with any felonies or misdemeanors involving sexual assault, child abuse or indecent exposure. Drug arrests are supposed to be disclosed, but not arrests for marijuana possession.

Board chairman Bob Schaffer of Fort Collins pushed for the changes, saying parents were in the best position to make decisions about their children’s safety.

Jeanne Beeyer, the Colorado Education Association spokeswoman, said the decision about whether to publicize an arrest should be left to school districts.

via Colorado teachers union challenges arrest disclosure rule – The Denver Post.

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