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Talbott v. Teacher Standards & Practices Commission

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-26-2013
Case #: A147648
Duncan, J. for the Court; Schuman, P.J.; and Wollheim, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A147648.pdf

Administrative Law: A good faith answer to employment related questions that proves to be false is not knowingly misrepresenting facts under ORS 183.650(4). While a writing directly related to professional duties made while off duty does violate professional standards, a writing that is a private expression of opinion does not.

Talbott sought judicial review of The Teachers Standards and Practices Commission's (TSPC) sanctions against him. TSPC determined that Talbott engaged in gross neglect of his duties in four instances by giving false answers to questions in his employment application, leaving an offensive letter to the parent of one of his students, and giving an offensive book to his boss/principal. The TSPC determined these violations had taken place and imposed sanctions. On appeal, Talbott argued that the TSPC erroneously modified findings of fact without clear and convincing evidence and that he was disciplined without reference to his professional responsibility, which violated his rights under the Oregon Constitution. The Court held that because Talbott answered employment questions in good faith, he did not knowingly give false answers to questions on the employment application. Next, the Court held that the offensive letter did violate professional responsibility standards and constituted gross neglect. Finally, the Court held the offensive book was a private expression of opinion which did not violate professional responsibility standards. The Court found that any constitutional claim was not preserved at the TSPC hearing. Reversed and remanded.