Attorney Julie Oinonen was recently featured on the news featured here regarding her expertise in educator ethics investigations involving the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) which is the state agency responsible for licensing, certifying, and disciplining educators in Georgia. Among its various functions, one of the PSC’s most important duties is investigating allegations of educator ethical misconduct.
Any individual, including students, parents, colleagues, or administrators, can file a written complaint against an educator for unethical conduct. The PSC’s Investigative Division then conducts a thorough investigation to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support the allegations of misconduct.
During the investigation, the PSC may interview witnesses, review documents and records, and make site visits. The investigation aims to determine whether the educator violated the state’s code of ethics for educators.
If the PSC finds that an educator has indeed violated the code of ethics, it can impose various disciplinary actions. These actions may include reprimand, suspension, revocation of certification, or denial of certification. In some cases, the PSC may also refer the matter to law enforcement for further investigation or prosecution.
It’s important to note that not all complaints lead to disciplinary action. Some complaints may be dismissed if there is insufficient evidence to support the allegations, or if the conduct does not rise to the level of a violation of the code of ethics. Educators who are the subject of a complaint are entitled to due process and have the right to appeal any disciplinary action taken by the PSC.
The PSC is committed to ensuring that only qualified and ethical educators are licensed and certified in the state of Georgia. Its complaint process provides a mechanism for investigating allegations of misconduct and taking appropriate disciplinary action when warranted. By holding educators to high ethical standards, the PSC helps to protect the public and uphold the integrity of the education profession.
In conclusion, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission plays a critical role in maintaining high ethical standards among educators in Georgia. Its investigative process provides a way for concerned individuals to file complaints against educators who may have acted unethically. However, to insure due process, it is essential that an educator is represented by legal counsel.
If you are facing an ethics investigation, do not hesitate to contact us today.