- Associated Press - Thursday, July 20, 2017

HONOLULU (AP) - The Hawaii Department of Education closed 11 employee misconduct investigations during the past three months, resulting in five terminations and one resignation.

The nature of the investigations is confidential because they involve protected personnel data, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (https://bit.ly/2vmZrW7 ) Wednesday.

However, most of the cases involved teachers accused of inappropriate physical or verbal conduct with students.

Investigators determined four of the 11 completed cases were unsubstantiated, and those employees returned to work, while another received a written reprimand.

As of June 30, there were 37 department employees on paid leave pending investigations.

That’s down from 63 pending cases at the end of 2014, when the Board of Education began scrutinizing the department’s handling of cases.

The board, citing concerns over the cost of paid leave and the stigma for employees who might eventually be exonerated, called for quarterly progress updates.

The 37 open investigations include 21 involving teachers. Several deal with employee-on-employee workplace violence, sexual harassment or creating a hostile learning environment.

Assistant Superintendent Barbara Krieg, who oversees the Department of Education’s central human resources office, said the majority of the open cases involve veteran employees.

“They’re all licensed teachers, not emergency hires,” she said.

For the three months ended June 30, the department opened 14 new cases, compared with 21 cases opened during the previous quarter from Jan. 1 to March 31.

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