The recent news about a former Dublin Scioto High School teacher who is facing federal child-pornography charges has raised many questions from news outlets and the Dublin community.

Gregory Lee, 52, was charged with one count of producing child pornography and one count of possession, distribution and receipt of child pornography, according to a news release from the city of Dublin.

Lee had an initial appearance June 20 before U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth A. Preston Deavers. She ordered him held without bail in the Franklin County jail.

The complaint, which was filed by Brett M. Peachey, a Westerville police officer assigned to the FBI task force against cyber and violent crimes, alleged that Lee had taken images of a 15-year-old girl with whom he had sex in his school classroom and sent her nude images of himself.

The district hired Lee in 1995.

This past spring, district officials referred to the Dublin Police Department an allegation that Lee might have had an inappropriate relationship with a student, according to a statement June 20 from Superintendent Todd Hoadley.

According to Lee’s personnel file, he was placed on administrative leave April 13.

Lee’s personnel file also shows previous allegations of “inappropriate” misconduct during his 22-year tenure with the district.

ThisWeek posed a few questions to the Ohio Department of Education in regard to the process of disciplinary action involving educators.

Brittany Halpin, the ODE’s spokeswoman, responded with answers: 

What are school districts required to report to the ODE in regard to misconduct?

• School districts are required to report educator misconduct pursuant to ORC 3319.313. 

What sort of union representation does a teacher get when an allegation of misconduct is made?

• This would be governed by the school’s collective-bargaining agreement.

What types of disciplinary options does the ODE have? How do they overlap with the district's actions or supersede them?

• Ohio Revised Code Section 3319.31 grants the State Board of Education authority to deny an educator’s application for a teaching license or to suspend, limit or revoke an educator’s existing teaching license. (Please note that it’s the State Board of Education that takes the action, rather than the department.)

• The ODE website outlines the types of disciplinary actions the state board of Education can take: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Educator-Conduct/Educator-Conduct-FAQs#FAQ1076. Licensure disciplinary actions are separate from employment personnel/discipline decisions. One does not supersede the other. However, if the state board takes a disciplinary action that suspends, revokes, or denies a license, then the person can no longer be in a position in a district that requires a license.

The State Board of Education has the authority to impose disciplinary action once it investigates accuracy of facts and determines whether it has jurisdiction. How does it determine whether it has jurisdiction in a particular case? What are the criteria for determining jurisdiction in a case?

• The grounds for the State Board of Education to pursue disciplinary action are listed in Ohio Revised Code 3319.31. The State Board of Education can pursue a disciplinary action if a licensed educator or an applicant seeking licensure has engaged in conduct unbecoming the teaching profession or has pled guilty to or been convicted of any felony offense, misdemeanor sex offense, violent offense, theft offense or drug abuse offense. (Ohio Revised Code 3319.31) In addition, the State Board can pursue disciplinary action if an educator has terminated his/her teaching contract in violation of Ohio Revised Code 3319.15 or has engaged in a proficiency test violation (Ohio Revised Code 3319.151).

Once it is determined that an investigation is warranted, what is the typical range of time it takes for the state board to investigate and conclude its investigation? What's usual? What's the maximum?

• The amount of time needed for the department to conduct investigations varies with each individual case.

Once an investigation determines that disciplinary action is warranted, is the educator given a time to be present or is he/she notified of the disciplinary action another way?

• If the state board intends to suspend, limit or revoke an educator’s license or to deny an educator’s application for licensure, the state board must give written notice of its intended action to the educator in accordance with Chapter 119 of the Ohio Revised Code.

• An educator, notified of the state board’s intended disciplinary action to deny, suspend, limit or revoke a license, is afforded the right to an administrative hearing to challenge such an action. A request for an administrative hearing must be submitted in writing and received by the Ohio Department of Education within 30 days from the mailing of the notice regarding the intended disciplinary action.

• All administrative hearings are held in accordance with Chapter 119 of the Ohio Revised Code.

• If an administrative hearing is not requested by an educator, the state board may, in the educator’s absence and upon consideration of the matter, determine whether or not to deny an educator’s application and/or to suspend, limit or revoke the educator’s license.

If the educator is present, is a teachers union representative often there with the educator? How often, in rough percentages, is a union representative there with the educator?

• During the investigation and disciplinary process related to licensure, an educator has the right to have an attorney to represent him/her. The department does not track how many cases in which educators have legal representation. For questions about district discipline and union representation, I would refer you to districts.

Is disciplinary negotiation ever permitted and employed? In other words, could an educator negotiate down the disciplinary action?

• An educator may enter into a consent agreement with the State Board of Education when appropriate. The description of a consent agreement can be found here: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Educator-Conduct/Educator-Conduct-FAQs#FAQ1073

Is the district required to report all allegations against an educator to the state board?

• School districts are required to report educator misconduct pursuant to ORC 3319.313.

You may find the Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators online here: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Educator-Conduct/Licensure-Code-of-Professional-Conduct-for-Ohio-Ed