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Understanding how the PPS handles teacher complaints

As a teacher, you've undoubtedly worked very hard to get your current position, earning your degree, serving as a student teacher, securing an educator certificate, and investing time and energy into continuing education efforts. Indeed, this level of commitment demonstrates that it's about more than a job, it's about helping shape and improve young lives.

In light of this reality and the time spent building relationships with students and a reputation in the school district at large, it can be incredibly alarming to learn that the Florida Department of Education's Office of Professional Practices Services is currently in the midst of investigating an allegation of educator misconduct leveled against you.

Recognizing the gravity of this situation and the fact that knowledge is truly power, today's post, the first in a series, will start providing some basic background information on how the PPS handles complaints against educators.

Background on the PPS  

The PPS is tasked with investigating allegations of misconduct against certified educators when these claims are "legally sufficient" -- meaning supported by ultimate facts -- and, if found to be true, would justify disciplinary measures being taken against their Florida Educator Certificate.

Indeed, it's important to understand that the jurisdiction of the PPS extends only to holders of Florida Educator Certificates and those applying for Florida Educator Certificates. What this means is that it cannot investigate any matters pertaining to those individuals who, while performing school-related functions, are nevertheless non-certified, including support staff, volunteers, bus drivers, custodians and paraprofessionals, to name only a few.

It's also important to understand that the PPS' investigatory scope is limited to violations of applicable state law and the Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida. What this means is that it will not look into employment-related matters or review decisions made at the local level.

We'll continue this discussion in future posts.

In the meantime, if you are a teacher facing false and potentially ruinous allegations, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about protecting your reputation and your future.

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