GFT Vice President, Sanjay Sharma, expressed the problems of Bill 420-32 regarding professional conduct on Guam’s educators at the public hearing on Monday. Sharma pointed out that the bill allows an over-reaching authority to the Guam Commission for Education Certification (GCEC) in which the Courts and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) already assume. Educators convicted of a felony are already punished under the Law. The CSC, through its legal standing, already terminates the employment of those violating some of the provisions in the bill. However, this bill allows the GCEC to terminate an educator, overstepping the CSC’s authority.
The bill also allows the GCEC to remove an educator’s certification based on the misconducts defined in their standards. Sharma pointed out that the bill terminates educators for perceived crimes not otherwise heard in a court of law or CSC such as social media posts, bikini posts, summer pictures, talking to a colleague to take a higher paying job elsewhere, and misdemeanor offenses that should only carry the weight of a penalty, not job loss. The misconduct defined in the bill is vague and can harm an educator’s career. Teachers in other states that utilize similar broad language have been forced to resign or have been terminated. Such examples, a male teacher in Georgia was terminated for showing his abdominal muscles in a television show, another teacher was forced to resign for posting pictures of holding an alcoholic beverage during her summer vacation or a teacher in Florida was fired for modeling in a bikini.
GFT strongly urges the legislative committee on Bill 420-32 to review our concerns and revise accordingly with our comments and observations. President Tim Fedenko has also submitted a written testimony with detailed comments on the bill and suggestions.