BURLINGTON, Vt. -- A new Department of Education website contains a listing of teachers who have been disciplined for misconduct since 2000.
The move came in response to criticism that the public is often unaware of teacher misconduct even though the final paperwork on educator license sanctions is a matter of public record.
"There'd been a lot of publicity in the press about things going on in our schools that were inappropriate," said state Board of Education member William Corrow, who recommended the creation of the listing. "The real challenge is, OK, how do we make our schools safer?"
The site, available at www. state.vt.us/educ, is designed to help educators better screen potential hires as well as keep the public and education board members informed of misconduct, Corrow said. "Most people in our schools are very decent, professional people, but there's always an exception."
The listing includes the names of 26 educators who either surrendered their licenses or had them suspended or revoked by the Vermont Education Department.
The license actions were driven by a wide range of allegations, including drug smuggling, smoking marijuana with students, and having sexual relations with students. There also were allegations that might not involve misconduct, such as incompetence.
In some cases, criminal charges were involved. The most recent action on the website involves ex-teacher Richard Bugbee Jr. of St. Albans. He was fired from Essex High School shortly after charges surfaced this summer that he had a sexual relationship with a female student.
Bugbee has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault on a minor. Bugbee surrendered his license Oct. 22, the website shows.
Vermont's teachers union offers qualified support for the website. "In concept, we agree" with the such listings, said James Fannon, a lawyer for Vermont's chapter of the National Education Association. "Of course, we just want to ensure the accuracy of the information that is posted on the Web."