Rep. Serpa calls for Department of Education to share teacher discipline info with private schools


STATE HOUSE — Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, is calling on the Department of Education to review its policy on sharing information on the discipline of teachers with other schools, both public and private, in the state.

The call comes on the heels of an attorney general investigation of a former North Kingstown High School coach who subsequently was hired by a Catholic school.

“The Department of Education maintains a database of teacher incidents that is not accessible to Catholic schools,” said Representative Serpa. “Clearly this is ineffective and incomplete if it’s not available to human resources in all school systems; for if we are to be responsible for the safety and welfare of our children at all times, that must extend beyond the realm of the public school, and that system must be accessible to all schools, whether public, private, Catholic or charter schools.”

According to news reports, the North Kingstown superintendent of schools was notified of the coach’s allegedly inappropriate behavior, and state education officials flagged an issue with the coach after his departure from the school.

Representative Serpa has said she will work with officials from the Department of Education to examine the feasibility and legal ramifications of sharing such information, along with determining whether new legislation would be necessary to make it happen.