Many Florida schools search for experienced teachers to join their staffs. The more years they have behind them, the easier it will be for them to educate and discipline students struggling in their classes. Good teachers are crucial towards shaping the futures of the newer generations.
Unfortunately, many of the state’s schools have some problems with their hiring process. These issues range from negligent oversights to problems with Florida’s current laws for newer applicants. There are several reports where a controversial teacher from one school is hired at another almost immediately. A common factor found in most of these cases is how better communication between schools could have yielded different results.
More transparency is required
A school in Palmetto announced in January that their assistant principal would become the new principal. However, The Bradenton Herald uncovered a 2014 investigation by the Florida Department of Education about the candidate for making racially insensitive comments. According to the report, a black employee was furious with his boss after the assistant principal mentioned how most of the kids who have been in fights were black and that most black people fight “due to their culture and because they all come from difficult households.”
The assistant principal agreed to a settlement and one year’s worth of probation in addition to fines and a course on workplace diversity. After the announcement about his promotion at his new school, members of the Manatee County School Board met to discuss the allegations. One of the school board’s newest members appeared to have little problem with the assistant principal’s hiring, but wishes the process was more transparent in the school community so they knew what they were getting themselves into and to ensure the safety of their students.
Substitute state problems
NBC Miami recently highlighted a major issue with Florida’s laws on teacher misconduct. Despite the state passing a law in 2018 to require districts to report teacher misconduct within 30 days, it does not cover uncertified substitute teachers. They became aware of the issue when a substitute teacher in Broward County was able to get a job at an elementary school only a year after being fired for multiple allegations of inappropriately touching younger girls.
The police eventually arrested the teacher for his crimes against the students in the newer school. Concerned parents question why the second school hired him in the first place when his previous school fired him for the same criminal behavior. As it turns out, the state law doesn’t require school districts to report substitute teachers who were fired or accused of misconduct unless they have a state license. Because he didn’t have a license at the time of his second hiring, the first school did not inform the state or the second school about the teacher’s allegations. The teacher was also able to get his state teaching license only three years after his initial firing.
Only time will tell if incidents like these will result in more changes to the state’s laws and the teacher hiring process in general. For now, parents should be aware of their legal options in case their child becomes the victim of a cruel abusive teacher.