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Eicks v. Teacher Standards & Practices Commission

Court of Appeals of Oregon

May 6, 2015

Robyn A. EICKS, Petitioner,
v.
TEACHER STANDARDS AND PRACTICES COMMISSION, Respondent

Argued and Submitted January 2, 2014

001GB069307. Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.

Thomas K. Doyle argued the cause and filed the briefs for petitioner.

Inge D. Wells, Senior Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. On the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General, and Erin C. Lagesen, Assistant Attorney General.

Before Ortega, Presiding Judge, and Duncan, Judge, and DeVore, Judge.

OPINION

Page 592

[270 Or.App. 657] ORTEGA, P. J.

Petitioner seeks judicial review of the final order of the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) denying the renewal of her teaching license. Petitioner assigns error to the TSPC's conclusion that she engaged in gross neglect of professional duties " to exemplify personal integrity and honesty" and " to use professional judgment" when she allowed her foster son to stay in her car in the school parking lot during work hours, arguing that, the conduct does not relate to her profession. Because we conclude that the TSPC failed to demonstrate a nexus between petitioner's professional duties and her treatment of her foster child, we reverse and remand.[1]

We take the facts from the final order and the record's uncontroverted evidence. Talbott v. Teacher Standards and Practices Comm., 260 Or.App. 355, 358, 317 P.3d 347 (2013). However, we review de novo an agency's modification of the administrative law judge's (ALJ) historical findings of fact and, as indicated below, do not accept all of the TSPC's findings. ORS 183.650(4); Moon v. Government Standards and Practices, 198 Or.App. 244, 246 n 1, 108 P.3d 112 (2005).[2]

The TSPC denied petitioner's application[3] for a school psychologist license and a school counselor license based on her conduct of leaving her foster son, M, in her car in the parking lot of the school where she worked for two days in January 2007. Petitioner has a doctoral degree in counseling and had been licensed as a school psychologist since 1989. In 1994, she began working as a school counselor in the Sweet Home School District (the district). During her tenure, petitioner received favorable evaluations from the [270 Or.App. 658] district while employed, including during the 2007-2008 school year. The district ended

Page 593

her employment in 2008 after the TSPC denied petitioner's license application.

In 2004, the Department of Human Services (DHS) asked petitioner to consider providing foster care for M, a student whom petitioner had previously counseled. M had been removed from a previous foster placement because he had threatened to kill the foster parent. M was removed from a second foster placement after threatening to make false reports of abuse and neglect to DHS and police and threatening to kill or harm his foster parents and their children. Petitioner was generally aware of these issues, but nevertheless agreed to provide foster care for M, and began doing so when M was 11 years old.

M's behavior continued to escalate while in petitioner's care. M would intentionally defecate in his pants and refuse to clean himself, would eat dog food, would kick and bite other students, and would refuse to come inside at night for meals or at bedtime. Petitioner worked with a treatment team that included a family counselor and psychiatrist to implement a plan to address M's behaviors. To address M's willful self-defecation, the psychiatrist instructed petitioner to provide M with water, soap, and a towel and have him clean himself at an outdoor water spigot. Petitioner was instructed to offer a hot dinner at a set time and, if M refused to come in, to offer fruit and sandwiches instead. If M refused to come in at night during the warmer months, the team told petitioner to provide a warm sleeping bag and allow M to sleep on the screened-in porch. Petitioner ...


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