Report: 12 DOE employees on leave with pay for a year or more - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Report: 12 DOE employees on leave with pay for a year or more

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Thirty-nine public schools employees are on leave as officials investigate allegations of misconduct against them, and 12 have been on that status for a year or more, according to a new report compiled for the Board of Education.

The board has questioned the department’s handling of investigations into employee conduct, particularly the length of time it takes to resolve cases.

The new report shows that the situation has improved since 2014, when there were 63 state Department of Education employees on leave because of investigations.

But board members say it’s still taking too long for investigations to wrap up.

“It should take zero to six months,” said Brian De Lima, an attorney and vice chairman of the Board of Education. “If they are innocent, they should be allowed to return. Wrongdoers should be terminated.”

The department has said that it’s working to streamline its leave investigations process.

A spokesman said all employees who are placed on leave pending an investigation are unpaid for 30 days, then are put on paid leave, under the terms of collective bargaining agreements. All "department-directed" leaves are paid.

The report, dated Jan. 8 but released at a Board of Education meeting this week, says 21 of the employees currently on leave have been out for six months or less.

Ten employees on leave for a year or more are teachers, and two are custodians. The allegations against them range from inappropriate conduct toward students to workplace violence to sexual harassment.

There are six employees who have been on leave for seven to 11 months; three are teachers, one is an educational assistant and the rest are custodians.

In one of those cases, a teacher is alleged to have had “inappropriate sexual relations with a student.”

And the DOE provided information on 16 employees on leave for less than six months. Seven are teachers, and the allegations against them include sexual harassment, inappropriate physical or verbal conduct toward students, misuse of DOE internet, and hostile work environment.

To see the full report, click here

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