Ohio Enacts Major Changes to School Employment Rule

Changes involve licensed individuals employed in schools that possess specific criminal conviction records

Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3301-20-01 is entitled Employment of individuals in positions that require a license and licensure of individuals with certain criminal convictions or other alternative dispositions ("New Rule"). New Rule governs the employment of licensed individuals with certain criminal convictions in Ohio schools.

Current Standards

Adopted in April, 2021, Ohio Revised Code 9.79. R.C. 9.79 established new licensure standards for first time applicants with criminal convictions, requiring all licensing agencies to create a list of offenses that could potentially disqualify an applicant from initially obtaining a license. R.C. 9.79 categorizes convictions and limits the timeframes by which an agency may deny an individual and initial license.

Adopted back in 1994, Rule 3301-20-01 established employment standards for individuals in schools positions that require a license who are also associated with certain criminal convictions.

New Rule Provisions: Employment Prohibition Standards

New Rule provisions went into effect on July 27, 2023 and apply to individuals who currently hold or who previously held a license issued by the State Board of Education. The Rule provisions also establish rehabilitation standards, which apply to convictions that occur after the educator receives an initial license.

New Rule also establishes a standard that prohibits employing initial licensure applicants with certain criminal convictions until the initial license is issued. If the initial licensure applicant has a criminal conviction appearing in section (B)(1) of 3319.39 or in section 3319.31 of the Revised Code, and the conviction is on the list entitled, "Disqualifying Offenses Pursuant to ORC §9.79," the applicant is classified as not employable until the license is issued.

New Rule Provisions: Rehabilitation Standards

An educator is deemed rehabilitated for a specific offense and employable in a position requiring a license as issued by the State Board of Education when the educator's license is in good standing and the educator either:

  • signs a letter of admonishment listing the offense;
  • executes a consent agreement with the State Board of Education listing the offense; or
  • receives a board resolution listing the offense.

It is important to note that New Rule requires school districts to thoroughly document district proceedings and decisions regarding employment. District are also mandated to maintain this documentation on file.

School employers in Ohio are encouraged to review the Rule provisions in detail and modify employment policies, as applicable. School employers are also encouraged to review the licensure and criminal conviction status of all current employees to ensure alignment with the New Rule provisions.

Posted: August 11, 2023

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