Filing a Moral Character Complaint (Teacher Discipline)
The Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability (OSPRA) investigates allegations concerning the moral character of individuals who hold or who are applicants for New York State teaching certificates, or about illegal practice of the profession by an uncertified person. Under the law, School District Superintendents must file a report with the Department upon knowledge that a certificate holder has been convicted of a crime or has committed an act that raises a reasonable question about the individual's moral character.
Complaints against certificate holders including teachers, administrators and school service workers, e.g., school counselors, should, in most cases, be filed with the Department only after the matter has been reported and addressed for remedial action by the appropriate authorities at the local level, including school building principals, superintendents of schools and State and/or local police.
Any person who knows that a certificate holder or an applicant for a teaching certificate has been convicted of a crime, or has committed an act which raises a reasonable question as to the individual's moral character, may file a written complaint with the Department. Complaints submitted must be signed and dated by the individual filing the complaint.
Complaints received by the Department will be reviewed pursuant to Part 83 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education to determine the appropriate action.
Instructions for Completing the Complaint Form
To complain about instances of poor moral character by a teacher or school administrator certified by the State of New York, or about illegal practice of the profession by an uncertified person, you must complete a complaint form (18KB).
Type or print clearly in black ink. Describe your complaint as completely as possible. If you do not have a daytime telephone number, it is helpful if you can provide a number where a message can be left for you during the day. If you have any papers that support your complaint, please attach copies. Do not send originals. If you have physical evidence, it is important for you to retain that evidence in its original condition.
Be sure to sign and date your complaint and send it to the address below.
Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability
New York State Education Department
89 Washington Ave , Room 981 EBA
Albany, NY 12234
When your complaint is received, it will be assigned to an investigator who will contact you in writing or by telephone. You will have an opportunity to explain your complaint in more detail. If we do not have the authority to investigate your complaint, we will refer it to the appropriate agency.
Listed below are the relevant statutes and regulations pertaining to the fingerprint process.