Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: January 12, 2018
Sharp files bill to
address inappropriate behavior in schools
In an effort to stop inappropriate relationships between school
employees and students, Sen. Ron
Sharp has filed legislation to require professional development
training on the issue. Under Senate Bill 899, the training would
begin with the 2018-2019 school year and would need to be completed
at least once per semester.
“While the protection and safety of students is the highest
priority for most Oklahoma public school personnel, there are those
few that need to be periodically reminded of the confidence and
responsibility that parents, the school district and state have
entrusted in them,” said Sharp, R-Shawnee. “This reminder
each semester of the legal and long-term consequences of inappropriate
behavior with students will hopefully be enough to deter any temptation.”
The program would include information about the potential penalties
associated with being convicted, whether upon a verdict or plea
of guilty or upon a plea of nolo contendere, or receiving a suspended
sentence or any probationary term for a crime or an attempt to commit
a crime of sexual abuse or sexual exploitation against a minor.
The training could be provided in person or online.
“This legislation would in no way eliminate school employees’
due process rights,” said Sharp. "I just believe when
someone is being tempted and considering illegal behavior that being
reminded every few months that such actions are a felony and they’ll
be deemed a sex offender will change their perception and bring
them to their senses.”
The State Department of Education (SDE) would be responsible for
developing the training materials (DVD, online or booklets) and
providing them to school districts.
Each school district board of education would submit a report to
the SDE by June 30, 2019, and by the end of June thereafter verifying
that all district employees had completed the training. Districts
would also need to verify that teachers had received the training
before being reissued their certified teaching certificates.
By November 1, 2018, the Commission of Educational Quality and Accountability
would need to adopt rules requiring coursework or training on appropriate
behavior between students and school employees as a requisite for
program accreditation. The SDE, beginning November 1, 2020, would
be required to verify before issuing teacher certification licenses
that students have received this training.
The legislative session will begin on Monday, February 5.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Sharp: (405) 521-5539