Schools streamlining employee misconduct investigations

Schools streamlining employee misconduct investigations

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Four of the 34 Hawaii public school employees on leave as misconduct allegations against them are investigated have been out for a year or more, according to new figures reported to the Board of Education on Tuesday.

That's down from January, when 12 were out for a year or more. the state Department of Education reported.

Over the last year, the Board of Education has aimed new scrutiny at how schools handle investigations into employee misconduct, particularly the length of time it takes to resolve cases.

The new report shows that the situation has improved. And efforts to decrease the amount of time it takes to investigate allegations have meant that the total number of people on leave at any one time has gone down.

In December, there were 63 DOE employees on leave. By February, the figure was down to 43.

The 34 employees currently on leave include an elementary school teacher who was accused of being intoxicated at work, a high school teacher who allegedly created a hostile work environment, and an elementary school teacher under review for sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct toward students.

The DOE noted that the employees on leave represent a tiny fraction of the department's 22,500 employees.Still, officials have said it's still taking too long to investigate misconduct. (One BOE member said no leave case should take more than six months.)

At the BOE Human Resources Committee meeting on Tuesday, assistant Superintendent Barbara Krieg said work is ongoing to improve the process of investigations involving employees on leave.

She pointed out that of the 34 people on leave, 20 have been out for six months or less.

DOE employees can be put on two types of leave: Leave pending an investigation or department-directed leave.

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.


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