Harris bill to reevaluate teacher reprimands unanimously passes off the House floor, for the second time

The Washington State House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed legislation from Rep. Paul Harris that would give educators with a reprimand an opportunity for redemption.

House Bill 1113, which the House also unanimously passed during the 2023 legislative session, would require the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) to adopt rules for reviewing and vacating reprimands issued to certificated professional educators that did not involve a student. Currently, there is no process in place to vacate a reprimand on an educator’s certificate.

“I’m happy to see this bill get a second chance after stalling in the Senate last year,” said Harris, R-Vancouver. “Some teachers with reprimands are outstanding educators and they will likely never repeat the offending unprofessional conduct. I believe in redemption and educators with minor infractions should be given an opportunity to clear their record.”

HB 1113 would not require the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to notify eligible people, but it would direct the OSPI to report to the Legislature the number of people with a certificate or permit who have submitted a petition to have a reprimand vacated under the PESB rules.

The OSPI would also be required to report the number of people who had a reprimand vacated under the PESB rules.

“It is important to show mercy to those who have taken the required corrective action,” said Harris. “We all make mistakes – and I’m all for accountability – but we need to make sure the penalty doesn’t outweigh the offense.”

The bill will now go to the Senate again for further consideration.

The 2024 legislative session began on Jan. 8 and is scheduled to run for 60 days.

# # #