Teacher Ethics Panel Asks Legislature to Let Them Stay
May 06, 2004
When asked about her motivations for sponsoring HB 551 House Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Lesil McGuire said, "Drug addiction is a big problem in our nation as a whole, but especially problematic in the state of Alaska. I think persons with serious felony drug convictions shouldn't be teaching our children. Besides setting a bad example for Alaska's youth, these people are a detriment to the educational environment and put our children at risk."
Opposing the bill is the Professional Teaching Practices Commission (PTPC). They feel that convicted drug felons should be allowed to teach our children and if any determination about a teacher's behavior is to be made, they should make it. Despite concessions by Rep. McGuire to tighten language the PTPC remained opposed to the bill. The concessions agreed to by Rep. McGuire would limit the bill only the most serious drug offenses including manufacturing controlled substances and distribution to minors. After studying the issue, Rep. McGuire felt that second through fourth class felonies shouldn't be included in the bill because it could possibly punish those who made a "stupid mistake" when they were young. "On the other hand, those found guilty of a first class felony should pay the consequences of their actions," said Representative McGuire.
Following Tuesday's committee hearing in Senate State Affairs, Rep. McGuire commented, "I'm astounded that the PTPC would oppose this legislation. Regardless of whether or not they have similar regulations in their own code of ethics, I would think that in light of recent events in Anchorage, they would want to go the extra step to regain the public's confidence that we are not in the business of exposing our children to hardened drug dealers."
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