Teacher discipline cases in South Dakota are heard by the state Professional Teachers Practices and Standards Commission. The seven-member commission - six teachers and one parent - is appointed by the governor.
Anyone can make a complaint about a teacher, said Lisa Lomheim, a legal assistant with the Department of Education, but should complain to local school leaders first.
"Local efforts need to be exhausted," she said, including complaining to the local school board and administration.
If that has already been done and the complaint goes to the commission, it can be dismissed for a lack of information, go to a hearing or the commission can investigate and then decide to dismiss or go to a hearing.
If the case makes it to a hearing, the teacher can request it to be private, Lomheim said, which happens almost all of the time.
Based on the hearing, the commission can dismiss the complaint or file a written complaint to the Secretary of Education, requesting the teacher's certificate be revoked or suspended.
A revocation is permanent, and the only way it can be reversed is if the person is pardoned by the governor. Then, he or she can reapply and get recertified again.
"That has happened in our state - that erases the record," Lomheim said. "It doesn't happen very often."
The commission dealt with 13 cases in 2007, down from 18 in 2006.
In West River schools, eight cases have made it to the commission during the past five years. The state has about 9,000 certified teachers.
On the Web
For more on the commission, go to http://doe.sd.gov/oatq/propractices/
Teachers disciplined by state Department of Education
The list below names South Dakota educators who have been disciplined both publicly and privately for a wide variety of reasons by the state Department of Education. The disciplinary actions include reprimands, suspensions and revocations.
This version of the list, released by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, was updated in 2007 and goes back 20 years. The database is made available to other state education departments, but does not provide details on why teachers were disciplined, and leaves it to states or hiring school districts to dig for more information.
The president of NASDTEC has said the list is incomplete and opposed publication of it. Repeated calls for an updated list were not returned.