LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Ethics complaints against teachers and administrators are on the rise. 130 complaints have poured into The Arkansas Department of Education so far this school year.
The Department of Education will likely reach a record this year. But a state spokesperson says these complaints are actually a good sign the public is holding teachers to a higher standard.
"Anybody can report an ethics violation. It can be a parent, a student or a patron," says Paul Brewer, executive director of human resources with the Pulaski County Special School District.
Brewer handles ethics complaints and the most common were violations against students.
"It could be from possibly physically harming a student, cursing a student, or something unethical where drugs are involved," says Brewer.
In turn, he sends the complaints to the state's Professional Licensure Standards Board, which is seeing a rise in complaints with 130 so far this fiscal year with two months to go, 100 last year, and it could surpass the 130 complaints filed two years ago.
"We're going to check up on them. Not all will be valid, but we will check," says Arkansas Department of Education spokesperson Seth Blomeley.
Blomeley says a retired FBI agent heads the investigation. There are seven ethics standards a licensed educator could violate. Like Brewer, Blomeley says most are violating standard one, "maintaining a professional relationship with each student, both in and outside the classroom."
"From one end of the teacher having sex with students or a teacher using bad language or bullying," says Blomeley.
Brewer and Blomeley agree, this process is a good thing. It protects everyone involved, students, teachers, and the district.
"Basically, if you don't report, you are in trouble yourself for not reporting it," says Brewer.
Blomeley says an overwhelming amount of the ethics complaints are against teachers, but there are complaints against counselors and principals. Anybody with a teaching license would fall under this.
Arkansas Education Association President Donna Morey says she also agrees teachers should be held to a higher standard, but because these allegations are not public information, it's hard to know if most are valid.