Eicks v. Teacher Standards and Practices Commission

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: 05-06-2015
  • Case #: A148581
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Ortega, P.J. for the Court; Duncan, J.; & DeVore, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 342.175(1)(b) and OAR 584-020-0035(3)(a), an application for a school counseling and psychologist license may only be denied for “gross neglect of duty” when there is a nexus between the applicant's questioned conduct and professional responsibilities.

Eicks appealed a final order denying her school psychologist and counselor licenses from Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC). TSPC argued Eicks showed “gross neglect of professional duties and “use of professional judgment” when she left her foster son, M, in a car for two days. M was placed in Eicks’ care by DHS after being removed from other foster homes due to many issues including threatening to kill the foster parents and their children. The administrative law judge (ALJ) found Eicks had checked on M while he was in the car every 30 minutes and M was not harmed in any way by Eicks, and that Eicks actions were not grounds for denying her the requested licenses. TSPC rejected the ALJ’s conclusion and denied Eicks’ application. TSPC argued that the nexus requirement has been met because the conduct occurred at Eicks’ place of employment, Eicks was expected to “use a high degree of judgment” in her job, and that there is a direct relationship between how an educator treats children inside and outside of the school setting. The Court found that there was not a sufficient nexus between Eicks' conduct and her professional duty, and that TSPC erred in denying Eicks’ application for school psychologist and counselor licenses. Reversed and remanded.

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