Maintaining a safe learning environment for all students
A safe learning environment for all students is a top priority for everyone in Georgia. A critical factor in establishing and maintaining that safe environment is appropriate and professional educator conduct.
The Ethics Division has a highly qualified team of investigators, many whom have law enforcement experience, as well as legal and support staff. Through the operations of the Ethics Division, the GaPSC safeguards that environment by setting, communicating, and enforcing clear standards for how educators are expected to conduct themselves with students, with one another, and within the broader community. The standards are set forth in the educator Code of Ethics, which are communicated throughout school systems and are accessible to the public via the agency website.
The division has the authority to enforce the guidelines by fully investigating valid complaints of improper conduct, including inappropriate relationships; mishandling public funds; violating state and federal laws and rules; and other unprofessional actions. In addition, the Ethics Division investigates all applicants for certification that have a criminal history to ensure that the applicant presents no threat to Georgia’s children. When appropriate, the GaPSC may impose disciplinary sanctions ranging from warnings to certificate suspensions or revocations.
Educators who have placed students at serious risk are removed from the profession through the denial or revocation of their professional educator certificates. While even a single case of educator misconduct is unacceptable, it is important to keep in mind that the number of educators putting students in harm’s way is a small percentage of the more than 135,000 professional educators employed in Georgia public schools.