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Overview of Educator Misconduct Investigation Procedures

DPI is currently receiving a high volume of contacts for assistance.  The three most commonly asked questions and their answers are below:

Help with WAMS IDs

Before you can submit an application to DPI, you must register for a Web Access Management Systems (WAMS) user ID.

How to set up a WAMS account

Already have one or more WAMS accounts?

How to start your WAMS account recovery:

Perform a WAMS account recovery for all emails you have. Enter your email address but do NOT enter your User ID to start your WAMS account recovery. Once in the account recovery process you will be prompted to change your password. After you change your password you will be told in parentheses what your correct User ID is. Please make note of that before you terminate the account recovery session. Once you have recovered all WAMS accounts you have, login to ELO with each of your accounts individually. If you can see your licenses, you are logging in with the correct WAMS account. If you are taken through the Onboarding process again, you are not using the correct WAMS account and should try another account.

If you encounter errors in the WAMS account recovery process, please contact WAMS directly.  DPI is unable to help with WAMS recovery because the system is used by many state agencies and is run by the Department of Administration:

Revalidating Life or Lifetime License

Educators, whose Life or Lifetime license was invalidated in July, have until December 31 to revalidate their license. Upon approval of the $45 Request Background Check - Lifetime Licensee [5900] application, the Lifetime license will be revalidated just as if the educator completed the application before June 30. Educators will have until December 31 to complete this application for their license to be revalidated.

Background Checks

DPI is required by law to conduct a background check on each applicant for a Wisconsin educator license regardless of whether it is an initial request or a renewal request.

All educators are required to complete a background check to maintain or revalidate a life or lifetime license. There are directions for how to complete the $45 Request Background Check - Lifetime Licensee [5900].

To find the year in which your most recent background check was submitted, search License Lookup using your name or entity number and check see the “Last Background Check Submitted” field.

In accordance with Wis. Stat. 115.31(6), upon receipt of a report from school district administrator, the state superintendent shall:

  1. Verify the conviction if the report indicated that the person was convicted of a crime as defined in Wis. Stat. 115.31.
  2. Investigate to determine whether to initiate revocation proceedings.
  3. Post on DPI’s website the name of the licensee who is under investigation.
  4. During the investigation, keep confidential all information pertaining to the investigation except the fact that an investigation is being conducted and the date of the revocation hearing.
  5. Maintain a record of all investigations that indicates the name of the licensee, the date the investigation began, the reason for the investigation, and the result of the investigation.
  6. Post on DPI’s website, the name of the person whose license was revoked resulting from an investigation.

Note

  • The public can search if an educator is under investigation by using our online License Lookup and looking at the License Status field.  Educators who are under investigation will have a status that says "Under Investigation."
  • In most cases, an employing school district will be aware that their employee is under investigation by DPI. However, in cases where DPI does not have employment information about the person under investigation, DPI will not be able to notify the employing school district.
  • Each allegation of misconduct is investigated and considered individually to determine if there is sufficient factual evidence to conclude whether the alleged behavior occurred and if any other conduct occurred.
  • Keep in mind that not all bad behavior or misconduct constitutes immoral conduct as defined in Wis. Stat. 115.31 (1)(c), nor does all bad and/or poor teaching practice/technique constitutes incompetency.
  • Being under investigation by DPI does not invalidate a person’s valid license that has not expired.
  • If there are pending criminal charges, DPI usually holds its investigation open until the criminal case is concluded.
  • DPI usually holds its investigation open pending the outcome/conclusion of the school district’s employment/discipline process.
  • The standards for pursuing license revocation are statutorily defined in Wis. Admin Code PI 34.098.