Georgia Educator Ethics Investigations By the Professional Standards Commission

Posted on February 2, 2023

Attorney Julie Oinonen recently was featured on WSBTV regarding her expertise concerning employment cases involving educators where she explained the role of the Professional Standards Commission, the state agency charged with investigating educator ethical misconduct. The story can be seen here.

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) is a state agency responsible for licensing, certifying, and disciplining educators in Georgia. One of the PSC’s most important duties is investigating allegations of educator ethical misconduct, which can include a wide range of behaviors that violate the state’s code of ethics for educators.
The PSC investigates allegations of ethical misconduct through a formal complaint process. Anyone can file a complaint against an educator, including students, parents, colleagues, and administrators. The complaint must be in writing and must provide specific details about the alleged misconduct.
Once a complaint is received, the PSC’s Investigative Division conducts a thorough investigation, which can include interviews with witnesses, review of documents and records, and site visits. The investigation is designed to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support the allegations of misconduct and whether the educator violated the code of ethics.
If the PSC finds that the educator did violate the code of ethics, it can impose a range of disciplinary actions, including 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 result in 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’s goal is to protect the public and ensure that only qualified and ethical educators are licensed and certified in the state of Georgia.
In conclusion, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission plays a vital role in ensuring that educators in Georgia uphold high ethical standards. Its complaint process provides a mechanism for investigating allegations of misconduct and taking appropriate disciplinary action when warranted.
If you are an educator facing a PSC charge, know that you are entitled to due process. Do not hesitate to contact our law firm for assistance.