Title 16: Education
Chapter 51: PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS
16 V.S.A. § 1708. Accessibility and confidentiality of licensing matters
§ 1708. Accessibility and confidentiality of licensing matters
(a) It is the purpose of this section both to protect the reputation of licensees from public disclosure of unwarranted complaints and to fulfill the public's right to know of any action taken against an applicant or a licensee when that action is based on a determination of unprofessional conduct or incompetence.
(b) All meetings and hearings of the standards board and hearing panels shall be held in accordance with 1 V.S.A. chapter 5.
(c) The commissioner shall prepare and maintain a register of all complaints which shall be a public record and which shall show:
(1) with respect to all complaints for which a formal investigation is initiated under subsection 1700(c) of this title, the following information:
(A) the date and the nature of the complaint, but not the identity of the licensee or information that could be used to identify the licensee; and
(B) a summary of the completed investigation; and
(2) only with respect to complaints resulting in the filing of a formal charge under subsection 1701(b) of this title, the following additional information:
(A) the name and business addresses of the licensee and the name of the complainant if disclosure is permitted under federal or state law and does not provide personally identifying information about a student;
(B) formal charges, provided they have been served or a reasonable effort to serve them has been made;
(C) except as provided under 1 V.S.A. chapter 5, the findings, conclusions, and order of the hearing panel; and
(D) final disposition of the matter.
(d) The hearing panel and the commissioner shall not disclose to anyone but the applicant or the licensee charged any information regarding a complaint, proceeding, or record, except the information required to be released under this section.
(e) A licensee or applicant shall have the right to inspect and copy all information in the possession of the department of education pertaining to the licensee or applicant, except investigatory files not resulting in formal charges and attorney work product.
(f) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the disclosure of information:
(1) Regarding complaints to state or federal law enforcement agencies in the course of an investigation, provided the agency agrees to maintain the confidentiality and privileged status of the information as provided in subsection (d) of this section;
(2) Regarding denials of licensure for cause, and license suspensions or revocations, and including reinstatements of licenses, to the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, consistent with the member agreement executed between it and the state of Vermont. For the purposes of this subdivision, "cause" includes any circumstance or activity also deemed to be a revocable offense; or
(3) As is necessary in investigating a complaint, to the superintendent of a school district in which the licensee is employed or, if the licensee is employed as a superintendent, to the chair of the board that employs the superintendent, provided the superintendent or chair agrees to maintain the confidentiality and privileged status of the information as provided in subsection (d) of this section. Where, in the judgment of the commissioner, the alleged unprofessional conduct or incompetence places the students in immediate physical or emotional jeopardy, the office shall inform the superintendent of the school district in which the licensee is employed. The superintendent may take only such action as is both necessary to protect students and consistent with the rights of the licensee. The superintendent shall not do anything which compromises the integrity of the investigation. (Added 2005, No. 214 (Adj. Sess.), § 2,; eff. July 1, 2007.)