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BUTLER COUNTY COMMON PLEAS COURT

COUBroFcOMM0NP/FAc5
BUTLER COUNTY, OHIO JUL 2 ? 2016
NHCHELLE L. LANGDON
clerkOFCOURTS
Appellant,
CASE NO. CV 2016 04 0819
V.

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF JUDGE SPAETH


EDUCATION,
FILED BUTLER CO.
Appellee. COURT OF APPEALS

."II 2 7 2016
lvi/-\n I i_. k.,..
CLERK OF COURTS
ON APPEAL FROM THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

BRIEF OF APPELLANT MICHELLE LANGDON


PURSUANT TO OHIO REVISED CODE SECTION 119

Christopher P. Finney (0038998) Hannah Stoneburner (0092480)


Brian C. Shrive (0088980) Anna M, Seidensticker (0046761)
FINNEY LAW FIRM, LLC Ohio Attorney General's Office
4270 Ivy Pointe Blvd., Suite 225 30 East Broad Street, 16'^ Floor
Cincinnati, Ohio 45245 Columbus, Ohio 43215-3400
(513) 943-6650 (614) 644-7250
(513) 943-6669 (fax) (614) 644-7634 (fax)
chris@fmnevIawFirm.com Hannah.stoneburner@ohioattornevgeneral
brian@finnevlawfirm.com gov
Coun.sei for Appellant Anna.seidensticker@ohioattornevgeneral.
gov

Counsel for Appellee


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page No.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

STANDARD OF REVIEW 7

ARGUMENT

I. The Department has failed todefine "conduct unbecoming"


and applies a standardless standard 11

11. The prehearing notice was constitutionally defective such that


Langdon was deprived her of her right to due process 17
III. The Hearing Officer's decision to allow the state to dictate
the order in whichLangdon presented her defenseand before
the close of thestate's case in chief deprived Langdon of
her right to due process

IV. The Department failed to provide reasons for amending the


Hearing Officer's Report and Recommendation to include a
requirement that Langdon attend anger management training 32
V. The Department's Order is replete with factual inaccuracies
and '^findings" for which there is no evidentiary support 33
VI. The Department failed to adequately consider mitigating
factors

VII. The Hearing Officer erred infinding that Kimberly Crawford was an
employee of Lakota Schools

VIII. CONCLUSION

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
REQUEST FOR HEARING AND ARGUMENT 38
APPENDIX I

TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

Federal Cases: Page No.

Caring Hearts Personal HomeServices, Inc. v. Biirwell,


2016 WL 3064870, at *7 (CA.IO (Kan., 2016) 11

Goldberg v. Kelly (1970), 379 U.S. 254, 268 30

State Cases:

Kellough V. Ohio State Bd. ofEduc., 2011 Ohio 431, ^ 29


(Ohio Ct. App., Franklin County Feb 1, 2011) 7

Our Place, Inc. v. Ohio Liquor Control Com.,


63 Ohio St.3d 570, 571 (1992) 7

Yohannes Parkwood, Inc. v. Ohio LiquorControl Comm.,


15 N.E.3(i 363, 366-67, 2014 -Ohio- 2736, f 9 (Ohio App. 10 Dist.,2014) 8
Lies V. Veterinary Med. Bd., 2 Ohio App.3d 204, 207,
441 N.E.2d 584 (1 St Dist. 1981) 8

Andrews v. Bd. of LiquorControl, 164 Ohio St. 275, 280,


131 N.E.2d 390(1955)

Univ. of Cincinnati v. Conrad, 63 Ohio St.2d 108, 111,


407 N.E.2d 1265(1980) 8

Ohio HistoricalSoc. v. State Emp. Relations Bd.,


66 Ohio St.3d 466, 471, 613 N.E.2d 591 (1993) 8

OPUS III-VII Corp. V. Ohio State Bd. ofPharmacy,


671 N.E.2d 1087, 1094, 109 Ohio App.3d 102, 113
(Ohio App. 10Dist., 1996)

Chirila v. Ohio State Chiropractic Bd., ICh N.E.2d 1192, 1194,


145 Ohio App.3d 589, 593 (Ohio App. 10 Dist., 2001) .' 9, n, 18
LTV Steel Co. v. Indus. Comm. (2000), 140 Ohio App.3d 680, 688 9, 17
Sohi V. State Dental Bd., 130 Ohio App.3d 414, 422,
720 N.E.2d 187 (U' Dist. 1998) 9^ 18, 24, 25

11
Orth V. Ohio Dept. ofEdn., 2012 -Ohio- 4512, f 7,
2012 WL 4503140, at *2 (Ohio App. 10 Dist., 2012) 11, 12, 15, 16
Hansen v. State Personnel Bd. ofReview, 364 N.E.2d 1386, 1391,
51 Ohio App.2d 7, 13 (Ohio App. 1977) ' ' 14
Davidson v. State Medical Bd. of Ohio, 1998 WL 226436, at *5
(Ohio App. 19 Dist., 1998) 12 21 29 30
Kom V. Ohio State Medical Bd. (1988) 61 Ohio App.3d 677, 685,
573 N.E.2d 1100 21, 24, 25, 28
Deidrick v. Best Buy Stores, LP, 2011 -Ohio- 1999, f 16,
2011 WL 1620647, at *4 (Ohio App. 3 Dist., 2011) 30

Owens V. Ohio Bur. ofEmp. Serv. (1999),


135 Ohio App.3d 217, 219-221, 733 N.E.2d 628 30

Ohio Revised Code:

O.R.C. 3319.31(B)(1) 11
O.R.C. 119.12

O-R C. 119 18
O.R.C. 2335.39 8
O.R.C. 3319.13
O.R.C. 3314.40 11
O.R.C. 3326.24
O.R.C.3328.19
O.R.C. 5126.253
O.R.C. 3319.313(A)(1)
O.R.C. 119.02 14
O.R.C. 119.03(6)
O.R.C. 119.03(E)

111
O.R.C. 119.07 18

O.R.C. 119.09 32

Ohio Administrative Code:

O.A.C. 3301-73-21 passim

STATEMENT OF ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

Record of Reference

I. THE BOARD ERRED IN US RESOLUTION TO REVOKE


AND REFUSE RENEWAL OF APPELLANT'S FIVE YEAR
PROFESSIONAL INTERVENTION SPECIALIST TEACHING
LICENSE AND REQUIRE THAT SHE ATTEND ANGER
MANAGEMENT TRAINING, AND UNDERGO A FUNESS TO
TEACH EVALUATION BEFORE REAPPLYING AS THE
AS THE HEARING OFFICER'S REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION AND THE BOARD'S RESOLUTION
WAS NOT SUPPORTEDBY RELIABLE, PROBATIVE, AND
SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE, AND IS NOT IN ACCORDANCE
WUH THE DUE PROCESS REQUIREMENTS OF THE UNUED
STATES CONSTUUTION AND OHIO LAW, AND IS NOT IN
ACCORDANCE WUH THE LAW p. 9.37

IV
STATEMENT OF THE CASE

This matter is an appeal of an Order set forth in the Resolution of the State of Ohio

Department of Education ("ODE") adopted March 8, 2016 (the "Order"). A copy of the Order
attached hereto and incorporated by reference as Exhibit 1.

Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 3319.31, the ODE instituted proceedings to determine
whether to limit, suspend, revoke, or permanently revoke Appellant Michelle Langdon's
("Langdon") five year professional vocation license issued in 2009. The ODE served upon
Langdon a Notice ofOpportunity for Hearing dated July 24, 2014, alleging eight counts ofbroad
and ambiguous alleged violations of3319.31(B)(1) (the "Initial Notice")'. On August 7, 2014,
Ms. Langdon duly exercised her right to request a hearing under R.C. 119 - Ms. Langdon's
request was receivedby the department on August 11,2014. The ODE served an Amended Notice

ofOpportunity on May 20, 2015, reciting the same eight counts, but adding that in addition to
considering whether to limit, suspend, revoke, or permanently revoke Langdon's five year license,
that the ODE would also be determining whether to deny or permanently deny Langdon's pending
application for a five year professional intervention specialist teaching license (the "Notice").^ The
only difference between the Initial Notice and the Notice is the inclusion ofpotential action relating
to Langdon s renewal application in the Notice. That is, other than the opening paragraph, the
Notice mirrors the Initial Notice.

The hearing was ultimately held in Columbus, Ohio, over seven days: July 20-23; July 27-
28; and September 1, 2015 before Hearing Officer Paul Stehura (the "Hearing Officer"). At the

' Doc A.

- Doc U.
hearing Counts 2 and 5 were dismissed by ODE. The hearing was closed on November 16, 2015

with the final of Langdon's written closingargument.

The Hearing Officer failed to file his Report and Recommendation within the deadline

established inthe Ohio Administrative Code. Notwithstanding the Hearing Officer's blatant failure
to comply with the Administrative Code on this basic point, ultimately he did file a Report and
Recommendation at approximately 5:16 p.m. on February 5, 2016, some fifty-one days late.
Notwithstanding the fact that the report and recommendation was impermissibly late, the Hearing
Officer concluded that the ODE had proven five ofthe remaining six counts against Langdon and
found that Langdon had engaged in conduct unbecoming the teaching profession, in violation of
R.C. 3319.31(B)(1), and recommended that the State Board ofEducation revoke Appellant's
teaching license, and that her application for renewal ofher five year teaching license be denied
for a minimum offive years from the date ofthe Board's final order. Appellant filed objections to
the Report and Recommendation to the Ohio State Board of Education.

Langdon timely filed her objections to the Hearing Officer's report and recommendation,
noting, among other things, the impermissible lateness of the report and recommendation, the
myriad due process violations suffered by Langdon, the ODE's failure to adopt rules describing
conduct unbecoming, and the lack of standards to be applied in ODE cases generally and with
respect to the charges against Langdon specifically.

Subsequently the ODE met in Columbus, Ohio on March 8, 2016, and resolved to accept
in part and reject in part the Report and Recommendation, revoking Appellant's teaching license,
and denying her application for renewal, allowing Appellant to reapply on or after July 1, 2018
provided that she completes a fitness to teach evaluation and 8 hours of anger management
training. Thus, shortening the time before Appellant can re-apply, but including new conditions.
Upon the ODE's adoption of the resolution, Ms. Langdon filed a timely appeal with this Court,

On March 8, 2016, the Ohio State Board of Education, sitting in Franklin County in the
State ofOhio, revoked the five-year professional teaching license ofAppellant Michelle Langdon
and denied her application ofrenewal ofthe same and prohibited her from reapplying until on or
after July 1, 2018, and only upon the satisfaction ofcertain additional conditions. Appellant is a
resident ofButler County. R.C. 119.12 provides in relevant part: "Any party adversely affected
by any order ofan agency.. .denying the issuance orrenewal ofalicense or registration ofalicense,
or revoking or suspending a license...may appeal from the order of the agency to the court of
common pleas ofthe county in which the place ofbusiness ofthe licensee is located or the county
in which the licensee is a resident." Appellant now appeals said Order to the Butler County Court
of Common Pleas.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

Michelle Langdon has been a licensed teacher, holding a license as an intervention


specialist specializing in students with moderate to intensive disabilities, since 2002, and since she
was injuniorhigh school has volunteered and worked in with children with disabilities in various

capacities. Among the most important roles of an intervention specialist is to advocate for the
students, keep the parents informed as to what is happening in the school and to help her students
prepare for adult life. (Transcript, 73:17-74:8 (Supp.002527)).

Prior to the incidents alleged in this matter, Ms. Langdon taught children with disabilities
for approximately eleven years without any previous infractions (Exhibit 1/Doc. SSS, Page 3).
Above and beyond her experience and efforts in the classroom, Ms. Langdon has been apassionate
advocate for her students specifically and people with disabilities generally {Id.).
3
Ms. Langdon, without any assistance from other teachers, administrators, or staff, set out
to obtain the resources necessary for her classroom (resources that the school itself was not

providing) (transcript page 1243-1244 (Supp.003639)); re-outfit the classroom kitchen used to

help her students develop critical life-skills allowing them to develop a level ofself-sufficiency
and sense of self-importance (Transcript, 1817-1819 (Supp.004213-4315); 578: 10-19

(Supp.002967), 579: 15-25 (Supp.002968) Document YY, Exhibits U, V, W, X, and Y). Thanks
to Ms. Langdon s creative thinking and dogged persistence, local and national companies donated
kitchen appliances, kitchen wares, and gift certificates (Transcript 1685, 1686 (Supp.004081,
4028)), and the school district received positive publicity from Ms. Langdon's efforts to provide
these resources to the school and the students (Doc. YY, Exhibit J).

Recognizing the challenge of even a mundane task of getting a haircut can be for her
students, Ms. Langdon brought in her mother to the school to give haircuts to her students

(Transcript, 1774 (Supp.004170)). In order to provide her students with a genuine high school
experience, Langdon arranged prom night limousines and dinners for her students.

Langdon's efforts to go above and beyond did not curtail her effectiveness in the classroom,
as, throughout her career, Langdon received glowing reviews for her work in the classroom.

Indeed, in one of her final reviews before leaving Lakota Schools, it was reported, "Students
understood what was expected ofthem and were held to that standard. Ms. Langdon made sure the
work was of good quality as she pushed the students to check their work for proper level of
effectiveness." (Transcript 561: 21-25 (Supp.002950), and Doc YY, Exhibit R). Ms. Langdon
sought the best for her students and the best from them. In short, Ms. Langdon is precisely the sort
of passionate advocate and educator we want instructing our students, particularly students with
disabilities.
During the 2007-2013 school years, Ms. Langdon was employed by the Lakota School
District as a teacher of high school students with moderate to intensive disabilities. At the
beginning ofthe 2013-2014 school year, a new aide was introduced into the classroom, Melissa
Meyer. In only one month together, Ms. Meyer butted heads with Langdon on numerous occasion,
over even the most simple of issues. Ms. Meyer presumed to know better than Ms. Langdon of
nearly every issue that would arise throughout the school day. From Ms. Meyer's engaging in age
inappropriate treatment of students such as holding hands and singing lullabies to 17 year olds to
the proper use of white boards and how to comply with students' Individual Education Plans
("lEPs") (Transcript 1330, 7-9 (Supp.003726); 1330: 13-25; 1331-1333 (Supp.003727-3729)).3
During Ms. Langdon s tenure at Lakota, another aide, Victoria Clark was also in the
classroom. Ms. Clark, and a private nurse, Kim Crawford (who was stationed there full-time to
care for one of the students), would regularly interrupt classroom activities and Ms. Langdon's
teaching and instruction by talking loudly amongst themselves (Transcript 1567: 9-19
(Supp.003963)), requiring Ms. Langdon to disrupt her educational time to reprimand them to be
quiet and to otherwise not interrupt the instructional day. Additionally, Ms. Clark was habitually
absent and tardy, again causing great disruption to Ms. Langdon's classroom planned instruction
requiring Ms. Langdon to restructure her plans for the day, and reorganize the other aides to
different tasks and students. Ultimately the refusal by Ms. Meyers, Ms. Clark, and Ms. Crawford
to conform their conduct to the needs of the classroom and respect the hierarchy of authority in
the classroom led to interpersonal disputes between Ms. Langdon and these aides and private

"I [Langdon] mean, she just -- she [Ms. Meyer] wou]d not listen. She knew better, you know. Icouldn't even finish
1sentence, Iknow. I know. Iget it. He iikes it.' I mean, that was just always her response." Tr. 1334,
nurse."^ This compares to Langdon's relationship with another classroom aide Pam Brabender who
was present when many of the alleged incidents raised at the administrative hearing were said to
have occurred, by Ms. Brabender's testimony greatly conflicted with that of Ms. Meyers, Ms.
Clark, and Ms. Crawford. Ms. Langdon and Ms. Brabender worked together cooperatively and
with mutual respect. Whereas Ms. Meyers, Ms. Clark, and Ms. Crawford were unwilling or unable
to take direction from the person designated to be in charge of the classroom - the teacher - Ms.

Langdon.

Ms. Meyer escalated her conduct from simple insubordination to wholly manufactured
complaints to the school, ultimately culminating in the ODE hearing and this appeal. That is the
genesis ofthe ODE hearing are the petty and imagined grievances ofone disgruntled classroom
aide who was in Langdon's classroom for approximately one month. (Transcript, 329:4-7
(Supp.002783)).

From the outset, the administrative hearing procedure in this matter was, to put it
charitably, flawed. The notice was defective as to the specifics ofthe allegations, the timeframe of
the alleged misconduct, the identity of the "victims," and - critically - the standard Ms. Langdon
was alleged to have violated and was to be judged against, all in violation of Ms. Langdon's
fundamental right of due process. Leading up to the hearing, the hearing officer made consistently
one-sided rulings in favor of the state and not in conformity to the law and his prior rulings, and
in violation of Ms. Langdon's due process rights.

^Indeed, at the administrative hearing. Ms. Clark testified that she felt "bullied" when Ms. Langdon (the person
charged with directing the classroom) stated to Ms. Clark "I just want you to do your job. You just need to do your
job...You need to do your job. You need to be here, because that's interfering with the kids." (698; 20-23
(Supp.003087)). The state was seriously pursuing ending the career of a.selfless and dedicated professional because
she had the temerity to ask her subordinate to "do her job"?
The hearing itself was a literal free-for-all at which the state presented various witnesses
to testify as to every petty gripe imaginable. This pointless griping went so far as to include

testimony from Sarah Mahoney (the person in charge of supplying the classroom) being called by
the ODE to testify about an incident in which Langdon requested to have her classroom properly
supplied. When asked whether this was a "perfectly appropriate interaction" (Transcript 829:23-
830:1 (Supp.003214)) Ms. Mahoney testified, "It was fine." (Transcript 830:2 (Supp.003215)),
and "I didn't say it wasn't fine before." (830: 6 (Supp.3215)). Thus, Langdon was dragged to a
hearing in Columbus, on amorphous charges, to be judged against an unknown standard (see pp.
10-17, below), and forced to sit through seven days of tortured testimony of every petty gripe and
randomly recalled interaction, the State could amass against a passionate and dedicated teacher.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to R.C. 119, the Court may affirm the order of the agency complained ofin the
appeal if it finds, upon consideration of the entire record and any additional evidence the Court
has admitted, that the order is supported by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence and is in
accordance with law.

To be "reliable," evidence must be dependable and true within a reasonable probability.


Kellough V. Ohio State Bd. ofEduc., 2011 Ohio 431, ^29 (Ohio Ct. App., Franklin County Feb 1,
201 l)(citing Our Place, Inc. v. Ohio Liquor Control Com., 63 Ohio St.3d 570, 571 (1992). To be
probative, evidence must be relevant, or in other words, tend to prove the issue in question. Id.
To be "substantial," evidence must have some weight; it must have importance and value. Id. "The
common pleas court's "review of the administrative record is neither atrial de novo nor an appeal
on questions oflaw only, but ahybrid review in which the court 'must appraise all the evidence as
to the credibility ofthe witnesses, the probative character ofthe evidence, and the weight thereof.'"
Yohannes ParJcwood, Inc. v. Ohio Liquor Control Comm., 15 N.E.3d 363, 366-67, 2014 -Ohio-

2736, f 9(Ohio App. 10 Dist.,2014) quoting Lies v. Veterinary Med. Bd., 2Ohio App.3d 204,207,
441 N.E.2d 584 (1st Dist.1981), qwoimg Andrews v. Bd. ofLiquor Control, 164 Ohio St. 275, 280,
131 N.E.2d 390 (1955). "The common pleas court must give due deference to the administrative

agency s resolution of evidentiary conflicts, but 'the findings of the agency are by no means
conclusive.' Id., quoting Vniv. ofCincinnati v. Conrad, 63 Ohio St.2d 108, 111, 407 N.E.2d 1265
(1980). "The common pleas court conducts a de novo review of questions oflaw, exercising its
independent judgment in determining whether the administrative order is 'inaccordance with law.'
Ohio Historical Soc. v. State Emp. Relations Bd., 66 Ohio St.3d 466,471, 613 N.E.2d 591 (1993).
While the court must give "due deference to an administrative interpretation formulated by an
agency that has accumulated substantial expertise in the particular subject area and to which the
General Assembly has delegated the responsibility ofimplementing the legislative command...
[such deference is only] afforded to an administrative agency's interpretation ofits own rules and
regulations ifsuch an interpretation is consistent with statutory law and the plain language of the
rule itself." OPUS III-VII Corp. v. Ohio State Bd. ofPharmacy, 671 N.E.2d 1087, 1094, 109 Ohio
App.3d 102, 113 (Ohio App. 10 Dist.,1996).

In the absence ofa finding that the evidence is reliable, probative, and substantial, the Court
may reverse, vacate, or modify the order or make such other ruling as is supported by reliable,
probative, and substantial evidence and is in accordance with law. R.C. 119.12. The Court shall
award compensation for fees in accordance with R.C. 2335.39 to a prevailing party, other than
an agency, in an appeal filed pursuant to this section. Id.

8
Due process rights guaranteed by the United States and Ohio Constitutions apply in
administrative proceedings." Chirila v. Ohio State Chiropractic Bd., 763 N.E.2d 1192, 1194, 145
Ohio App.Sd 589, 593 (Ohio App. 10 Dist., 2001), citing LTV Steel Co. v. Indus. Comm. (2000),
140 Ohio App.3d 680, 688. "Procedural Due Process also embodies the concept of fundamental
fairness." Sohi v. State Dental Bd, 130 Ohio App.3d 414,422, 720 N.E.2d 187 (P' Dist. 1998)

ARGUMENT

Ohio Auditor ofState David Yost recently referred to the Ohio Department ofEducation
as "dysfunctional" and "among the worst, ifnot the worst-run state agency in state government."^
And indeed, this case demonstrates the truth of Auditor Yost's statements.

As will be developed below, the ODE is a bureaucracy out of control. The board refuses to

comply with its statutory obligations; its office of professional conduct initiates administrative

hearings based upon the flimsiest of notice; its hearing officers enforce their own rules selectively
in favor of the ODE and against the respondents; and the board adopts Orders that do not comply
with the requirements of the law. Due process is flouted. And dedicated educators like Ms.

Langdon are left with the choice either going down without a fight or fighting and losing, as the
educator always loses as the ODE.^ It is a game of 3-card Monty in which the dealer always
wins.

Columbus Dispatch, "Dave Yost calls education department one of the 'worst-run' state agencies in Ohio" May 23,
2016. Available online at httjLiLHAVA ._diNaidjLconj/o^tenj, >^^
Jiim A copy is attached hereto as Exhibit 2. ^
See, Office ofProfessional Conduct Annual Report, July 2015, indicating that in 2014, there were no educator
conduct matters resolved by the State Board ofEducation that resulted in no discipline. "In 2014, the State Board
resolved 120 cases and issued disciplinary action in each case. In 97 cases, the State Board imposed the most severe
disciplinary action, permanent revocation and permanent denial." This is a curiously efficient process Bates CORR
000187.
This Court is asked to decide, just as the ODE itself was asked, do rules matter? Do the

specific legislative commandments of the Ohio Legislature matter? Should citizens be entitled to

feel secure that their rights will be protected when the go against the leviathan that is the

administrative state? Or should we, the citizenry, simply resign ourselves to a life of uncertainty
and fear of an uncontrolled and uncontrollable bureaucracy willing to abuse its power?
The ODE has made its intentions clear. The ODE intends to continue abusing Ohio's
educators, trampling on the very essence ofdue process, and ignoring the commandments of the
Ohio Legislature. It is now up to this Court to decide whether we remain a nation of laws or of

men.

The Board erred in its resolution to revoke Langdon's five-year professional license,
denying her application for renewal, requiring that she wait until at least July 1, 2018 to reapply,
requiring that she attend 8 hours of anger management counseling, and that she undergo a fitness
to teach evaluation at her own cost, as the Hearing Officer's Report and Recommendation was not
supported by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence, and is notin accordance with Ohio law.

10
I. The Department has failed to define "conduct" unhecoming and applies a standardiess
standard.

A world Madison worried about long ago, a world in which the laws are "so
voluminous they cannot be read" and constitutional norms ofdue process, fair
notice, and even the separation ofpowers seem very much at stake. But whatever
else one might say about our visit to this place, one thing seems to us certain: an
agency decision that loses track ofits own controlling regulations and applies the
wrong rules in order to penalizeprivate citizenscan never stand.^

"'Conduct unbecoming' aclassroom teacher is not clearly defined by statute in Ohio. The
phrase is also not defined by Ohio case law." Orth v. Ohio Dept. ofEdn., 2012 -Ohio- 4512, ^ 7,
2012 WL 4503140, at *2 (Ohio App. 10 Dist., 2012).

Indeed, five times the Ohio legislature has specifically and unambiguously directed the
ODE to adopt rules describing "conduct unbecoming the teaching profession," and each time the
ODE has ignored those clear instructions. While the ODE has adopted O.A.C. 3301-73-21(A), the
regulation simply re-words "conduct unbecoming" as "crimes or misconduct" without providing
any degree of detail as to what "misconduct" might be. As this matter does not involve any
allegations of criminal activity, the ODE has simply replaced the words "conduct unbecoming"
with the word misconduct. This is not and cannot be enough to clarify the charges in this matter,
or to fulfill the mandate of Ohio's legislature.

Indeed, the Notice and Amended Notice did not even specify whether Langdon was alleged
to have engaged in an immoral act, to be incompetent, negligent, or specifically that she had
engaged in conduct unbecoming. Rather, she was forced to defend herself against undefined and
amorphous charges that she had somehow her "acts, conduct, and/or omissions,...constitute a
violation of Section 3319.31(B)(1) of the Ohio Revised Code."

^Caring Hearts Personal Home Services, Inc. v. Burwell, 2016 WL 3064870, at *7 (C.A.IO (Kan.. 2016).
R.C 3319.13; 3314.40; 3326.24; 3328.19; and 5126.253.
11
The version of OAC 3301-73-21 and the relevant statutes applied in Orth are the same as
at the time ofthe alleged conduct for which Ms. Langdon was brought before the ODE. Thus, it is
equally true today as it was in 2012, '"conduct unbecoming' a classroom teacher is not clearly
defined."

Appellee will no doubt point to the "Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio

Educators as the standard that is to apply in this matter. However, as noted in Langdon's closing
argument in the administrative hearing, an examination of the Ohio Administrative Code, ODE
meeting minutes, and the Ohio Legislative Services Commission's Rule Summary and Fiscal
Analysis show that the procedures set forth in O.R.C. Chapter 119 for the adoption of
Administrative Rules simply were not followed as to the adoption of the Code of Conduct.^ In
short, in the seven years since the Ohio legislature passed O.R.C. 3319.31(B)(1), the "conduct
unbecoming standard has been unenforceably vague because of bureaucratic incompetence of the
ODE and attorney incompetence of the Ohio Attorney General.

Appellee will point to the Code of Conduct as the rule defining conduct unbecoming as the
legislature required in R.C. 3319.313(A)(1). However, there is no indication that the ODE
followed the procedures for rule-making set forth in Chapter 119 of the Ohio Revised Code in
"adopting" the Code of Conduct.

Every agency authorized by law to adopt, amend, or rescind rules shall comply with
the procedure prescribed in sections 119.01 to 119.13, inclusive, of the Revised
Code, for the adoption, amendment, or rescission of rules. Unless otherwise
specifically provided by law, the failure of any agency to comply with such

Records relating to the "adoption" ofthe Licensure Code ofProfessional Conduct for Ohio Educators were
requested from the Secretary of State, the Ohio Department of Education, and the Ohio Legislative Services
Commission. As detailed below, nothing in the documents produced to date indicates that the requirements of
Chapter 119 were met by the ODE with respect to "adoption" ofthe Licensure Code ofProfessional Conduct for
Ohio Educators. We are glad to have an evidentiary hearing on this question if the State refuses to concede this point
and the Court will also allow.

12
procedure shall invalidate any rule or amendment adopted, orthe rescission of any
rule.

R.C. 119.02.

R.C. 119.03(B) requires that "[t]he proposed rule, amendment, or rescission and public
notice shall be filed as required by this division at least sixty-five days prior to the date on which
the agency, in accordance with division (E) of this section, issues an order adopting the proposed
rule, amendment, orrescission. The Code ofConduct that the state board ofeducation deliberated

upon in its February 2008 meeting was dated, January 28, 2008. The state board of education

"adopted" the Code ofConduct by a resolution on or about March 11, 2008 (i.e. 43 days after
January 28, 2008). Thus, the Code ofConduct that the ODE "adopted" could not have been filed
at least sixty-five days prior to the date on which the agency adopted the Code ofConduct.
R.C. 119.03(B) further requires that any proposed rule be published in the register ofOhio.
Itdoes not appear that Code ofConduct was published in the register ofOhio.
R.C. 119.03(E) requires that "[pjrior to the effective date of a rule, amendment, or
rescission, the agency shall make a reasonable effort to inform those affected by the rule,
amendment, or rescission and to have available for distribution to those requesting it the full text
ofthe rule as adopted oras amended." The resolution "adopting" the Code ofConduct declared it
"effective immediately" and directed the Superintendent to "notify all Ohio school districts,
nonpublic and community schools and all Ohio colleges and universities approved to prepare
teachers of this action." However, the ODE failed to directly inform the people actually
immediately affected by this "rule" - current teachers like Ms. Langdon at the time - of the
"adoption" of the Code of Conduct.

13
The language of R.C. 119.02 specifically states that the failure of any agency to comply
with the required procedure shall invalidate any rule adopted. Consequently, we U"e persuaded that
the trial court correctly determined that the procedural rule at issue was invalid." Hansen v. State
Personnel Bd. ofReview, 364 N.E.2d 1386, 1391, 51 Ohio App.2d 7, 13 (Ohio App. 1977). Thus,
absent strict compliance with the rulemaking requirements, the Code of Conduct is without any
force or effect. Here, the ODE failed to comply with the required procedure, by (i) failing to file
the proposed rule as required for at least 65 days prior to adoption; (ii) failing to publish the
proposed rule in the Ohio register; and (iii) failing to take reasonable efforts to notify current
educators, like the Respondent, of the proposed rule prior to its "adoption." Any one of these
failures is alone fatal to the enforcement of the Code of Conduct against the Respondent.
Despite the state s insistence below that the Code of Conduct can be used as aguidepost
for analyzing the Respondent's conduct, the simple fact is that (a) as noted above, not only was
the Code ofConduct never properly adopted by the ODE; (b) the Ohio Department of Education
has stately expressly and unambiguously that the term "conduct unbecoming to the teaching
profession is defined in OAC 3301-73-21; and (c) OAC 3301-73-21 does not incorporate the
Code of Conduct, or any other material, by reference.'^

In describing the rule in paragraph 7 ofthe Rule Summary and Fiscal Analysis of OAC
3301-73-21 dated January 7, 2014, the ODE states, "[t]his rule defines the term conduct

unbecoming the teaching profession..."'^

See, Exhibit Ato Respondent's Closing Argument (Doc BEE (Bates 000196, at f 8) The Rule Summary and
Fiscal Analysis of OAC3301-73-21 as effective on March 27, 2014.

" Id. (Bates No. 000196 at^ 7)


14
In responding to questions in Paragraphs 8and 9ofthe Rule Summary and Fiscal Analysis
of OAC 3301-73-21 dated January 7, 2014, asking about any text or material that is incorporated
by reference, the response from the ODE was, "[tjhis response left blank because filer specified
online that the rule does not incorporate a text or other material by reference." (See Exhibit A to
Document EEE).

Thus, when one is seeking to understand exactly what is "conduct unbecoming" in the State
of Ohio, the ODE has explicitly directed all interested parties to O.A.C. 3301-73-21 and only
O.A.C. 3301-73-21. And, as noted above, O.A.C. 3301-73-21 simply re-words "conduct
unbecoming" as "crimes or misconduct" without providing any degree of detail as to what
"misconduct" might be.

Further, there was no testimony or evidence produced at the administrative hearing (such
asexpert testimony) as tothe what conduct isoris not "misconduct" orwhen "misconduct" reaches

the level of conduct unbecoming. The Ohio Board of Education has failed to adopt standards for
physical contact with students and other behavior for which the Hearing Examiner proposes to
revoke Ms. Langdon's license, and the State failed to introduce any expert testimony as to any
such standard, thus proposing to discipline Ms. Langdon based upon utterly no enunciated or even
proffered standards. Thus, whatever standard was to be applied was not actually presented in the
prehearing notice or at the hearing.

Having blatantly disregarded the Legislature's explicit direction to adopt rules describing
"conduct unbecoming" any disciplinary procedure premised upon the undefined "conduct
unbecoming cannot satisfy the requirements of due process and is necessarily void.
In Orth, the Franklin County Court of Appeals looked to the Uniform Code of Military
Justice for guidance as to the meaning of "conduct unbecoming." "In the military context, the
15
phrase implies misconduct so seriously against law, justice, morality, or decorum so as to expose
the offender to disgrace and orso as to dishonor the military profession." Id. at *2.

Even accepting argiiendo that the Uniform Code ofMilitary Justice, as set forth in Orth, is
the standard, there is no reliable, probative, and substantial evidence that any of the conduct
complained of or evidenced at the hearing was "so seriously against law. Justice, morality, or
decorum so as to expose [Ms. Langdon] to disgrace and or so as to dishonor the.. .profession," nor
that the Hearing Officer or ODE made such a finding.

What was proven at the administrative hearing is that Langdon had apersonality clash with
two aides: one who refused to submit to Langdon's authority, and another who was habitually late
or absent, and that the insubordinate aide worked with the school administration to stir up a
controversy. Even the Code of Conduct, which the Appellee will no doubt point to as the final
authority in this matter, is devoid of any guidelines or parameters relevant to the question what is
or is not conduct unbecoming when dealing with insubordinate aides, nonabusive physical
contact with students, or a teacher's tone or volume of voice in the classroom.

Certainly Langdon spoke in an "authoritarian tone" in the classroom, as the teacher of


teenagers with multiple disabilities aided byan insubordinate aide andanother whose attendance

was unreliable, Langdon s classroom could easily lose focus necessitating that the adult in the
room - the person charged to care for and educate special needs high school students - retain
authority. Again, there was no evidence presented as to what tone or volume in such an

environment constitutes "misconduct" or when the use of an "authoritarian tone" rises to the level
of this undefined conduct unbecoming." To discipline a teacher under such circumstances is
simply not in accordance with the law.

16
As a matter oflaw, absent a clear, written standard, and absent expert testimony, we as a
non-teaching professional - the hearing examiner - to create the standard from whole cloth. The

process thus devolves into the very definition of"arbitrary and capricious," which ourConstitution

does not tolerate.

While the Notice ofOpportunity and Amended Notice ofOpportunity, dated July 24, 2014
and May 20, 2015 respectively, delineated eight counts for which Ms. Langdon faced revocation
or suspension of her professional license, because the ODE has never actually adopted a rule
describing conduct unbecoming (as commanded by the Ohio Legislature), there cannot possibly
have been adequate notice such as to allow Ms. Langdon to be apprised of the basis for the
proposed action against her. Further, in the absence of an actual standard against which to judge,
any finding that Langdon engaged in "conduct unbecoming" cannot be supported by reliable,
probative, and substantial evidence and cannot be in accordance with the law.

11. The prehearing notice was constitutionally defective such that Langdon was deprived her
right to due process.

Even assuming orguendo, that the ODE had properly adopted a rule describing conduct
unbecoming, the prehearing notice was nonetheless so constitutionally defective so as to deprive
Langdon of her right to due process.

"Due process rights guaranteed by the United States and Ohio Constitutions apply in
administrative proceedings." Chirila v. Ohio State Chiropractic Bd., 763 N.E.2d 1192, 1194, 145
Ohio App.Sd 589, 593 (Ohio App. 10 Dist., 2001), citing LTV Steel Co. v. Indus. Comm. (2000),
140 Ohio App.3d 680, 688. "A person is afforded the requirements of due process in an agency
adjudicatory hearing where the person is given 'clear and actual notice of the reasons for the
termination in sufficient detail to [permit the person] present evidence relating to them, notice of

17
the names ofthose who made allegations against the [person] and the specific nature and basis for

the charges, a reasonable time and opportunity to present testimony, and a hearing before an
impartial board ortribunal." Davidson r State Medical Bd. ofOhio, 1998 WL 226436, at*5 (Ohio
App. 19 Dist., 1998), quoting Koni v. Ohio State Medical Bd. (1988) 61 Ohio App.3d 677, 685,
573 N.E.2d 1100. These requirements are conjunctive, meaning that due process is met only when
each requirement is satisfied.

"[TJhe failure of an agency to provide notice in the manner specified in R.C. 119.07
invalidates any subsequent order issued by the agency. R.C. 119.07. Thus, to comport with due
process requirements, R.C. Chapter 119 requires effective notice and a meaningful opportunity
to be heard." Chirila, Supra, at 1996 [emphasis added]. Notice "shall include the charges or other
reasons for the proposed action, the law or rule directly involved, and a statement informing the
party that the party is entitled to a hearing ifthe party requests it within thirty days ofthe time of
the mailing of the notice. R.C. 119.07. Further, Ohio law explicitly requires that administrative
agencies may not revoke or suspend a"professional license without safeguarding the statutory and
due process rights ofthe respondent." Sohi v. State Dental Bd., 130 Ohio App.3d 414, 422, 720
N.E.2d 187 (P' Dist. 1998). "Procedural Due Process also embodies the concept offundamental
fairness." Id.

With respect to the timeframe of the allegations included in the Notice and Amended

Notice, the Department sitxipXyfailed to provide adequate notice ofthe allegations against which
Langdon was to defend.

Even when somewhat specific, the Notice ofOpportunity for Hearing and Amended Notice
of Opportunity for Hearing included allegations of conduct alleged to have occurred when the
students were not even enrolled at the school, nor was Langdon in a classroom during that year,
18
and the Notice of Opportunity for Hearing and Amended Notice of Opportunity for Hearing failed
to provide the last name of two of the students about whom allegations were made. By drafting the
notice such that it is little more than aglorified snipe hunt - sending the respondent off to prepare
adefense against phantom allegations that are only made clear (if ever), or simply dropped, at the
hearing, the ODE has failed to meets its due process obligations.

COUNT 1

During the 2012/2013 school year, while employed at the


Lakota Local School District, you made unprofessional,
inappropriate and critical comments during school hours about
students, staff, and parents, including but not limited to;
Students 1, 2 and 3; staff members Michelle Hammond, Kim
Crawford and Mike Nicholas; and parents of students 1 and 2.
You made these comments to school staff members and
students.

Your acts, conduct, and/or omissions, as alleged in Count 1 above, constitute a


violation of Section 3319.31(B)(1) of the Ohio Revised Code.

Count 1begins with a broad allegation that during the 2012/2013 school year (i.e. August
2012-June 2013), Ms. Langdon engaged in the alleged conduct, and when "specifying" some of
the actual people allegedly involved, broadens the claim impermissibly with the use ofthe words
"including but not limited to." Despite repeated requests to the Department and the Hearing Officer
for clarification of the actual charges, the administrative hearing proceeded based upon the
allegations as set forth in the Amended Notice.

As the evidence made clear. Students 1, 2, and 3 were not in the same school building as
Langdon, during the 2012/2013 school year, and Ms. Langdon had utterly no interaction with

19
either the students or the parents that year.'- '^ Thus, with respect to Count 1, any finding that
Langdon engaged in "conduct unbecoming" with respect to students I, 2, and 3, or their parents,
cannot as a matter oflogic be supported by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence. Indeed,
the only evidence presented on this point was that Ms. Langdon had no interactions whatsoever
with students 1, 2, and 3, or their parents during the 2012/2013 school year.
Yet, in attempting to "whistle past the graveyard" in finding that somehow the notice was
sufficient, the Hearing Officer, found that the timeframe in Count 1is meant to signify two school
years, the 2012/2013 school year and the 2013/2014 school year. Notwithstanding the hearing
officer s contortions, the timeframe set forth in Count 1is at best ambiguous, indeed the state's
attomey acknowledged this point in her closing argument: "Langdon provided no evidence that
her reading of the language is the only correct or reasonable one."'"^ Thus, acknowledging that
Langdon's understanding of the timeframe was both correct and reasonable. Further compounding
the confusion behind the ambiguous dates in the Notice and Amended Notice is the Department's
own argument in its closing argument that somehow 2012/2013 school year actually means
anytime between the fall of 2011 and the spring of 2014: "However Langdon had Students 1-3 in
the fall 2013 to spring 2014 academic year and she worked in a[redacted] in the fall 2011 to spring
2012 academic year. Id. It is as if the limits of logic and reason are wholly without effect in
Columbus.

Ignoring the Department's own admission that Count 1is at best ambiguous, the Hearing
Officer simply ruled that "2012/2013 school year'' means "both the 2012-2013 and the 2013-2014

'-Tr. P. 1206, 12-19; P. 1207, 15-23; P. 1207, 24-25, P. 1208, 1-5


'^Tr. P. 1208, 6-P. 1209, 12-14.
Doc. CCC, page 8, Bates 000150. Emphasis added.

20
school yearsr^"" The Hearing Officer's own footnote on this issue then highlights just how
impressive his contortions on this issue are, as the Department used different language in Count 8:
During the 2012 and 2013 school year" (note the singular "year"). Conveniently for the
Department, the Hearing Officer found that this too means both the 2012/2013 school year and the
2013/2014 school year, and glossed over the obvious inconsistency by the ODE. Thus, the
Appellant is left in a"through the looking glass world" where the words used by the Department
mean precisely what the Department chooses them to mean, nothing more nothing less. And the
Hearing Officer is happy to give sanction to the Department's Humpty Dumpty like linguistic
acrobatics.'^

Kom V. Ohio State Medical Bd. (1988), 61 Ohio App.3d 677, sets an exacting bar, but not
ahigh bar. To satisfy the due process requirements of the preheating notice, the preheating notice
must provide clear and actual notice ofthe reasons for the proposed discipline in sufficient detail
to allow Langdon to present evidence relating to them; notice of the names of those who made the

allegations; and the specific nature and basis for the charges.'^ Unquestionably, Count One fails
to provide the names of those who made the allegations against Langdon. Nor does Count One
provide the specific nature and basis for the charges to provide the requisite "clear and actual
notice." Both required to satisfy the requirements of due process under Kom.

Hearing Officer's Report and Recommendation, Doc. KKK, page 34, Bates 000246.
Humpty Dumpty from chapter six ofLewis Carroll's, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, "When I use a word.. .it
means just what I choose it to mean - - neither more nor less."
See, Davidson v. State Medical Bd. ofOhio, 1998 WL 226436, at *5 (Ohio App. 19 Dist., 1998), quoting Kom v.
Ohio StateMedical Bd. (1988) 61 Ohio App.3d 677, 685, 573 N.E.2d 1100.
21
COUNT 8

During the 2012 and 2013 school year, you referred to a private
nurse within the school, Ms. Crawford, as a big, gross,
disgusting wildebeest. ' ^
Your acts, conduct, and'or omissions, as alleged in Count 8 above, constitute a
violation of Section 3319.31 (B)( ]) ofthe Ohio Revised Code.

The English language includes the singular and plural for a reason - to communicate
effectively. When the Department set forth its allegations in Count 8 of the Notice and Amended
Notice, it used the singular year - and it communicated to Langdon, that she was being called to
account for conduct that was alleged to have occurred in the 2012/2013 school year, that is between
August of2012 and June of 2013. Yet, the Hearing Officer, once again, simply "found" that "2012
and 2013 school year" means something entirely different than what an ordinary reader would
make of it - to him it meant August of 2012 to June of 2014.

Further, despite the Hearing Officer's finding that "[o]n multiple occasions during the 2012
and 2013 school years, Respondent referred to...as awildebeest."'^ There was no testimony that
Ms. Langdon referred to Ms. Crawford as a "wildebeest" at all during the 2012 and 2013 school
(1217, lines 10-15). Rather, the only testimony relating to the 2012 and 2013 school year was
from Ms. Langdon where she specifically denied having any discussion about Ms. Crawford with
any person:

Doc. KKK, page 26, Bates Supp.002340.

22
Q. Did you have any discussions with

anyone, any human being at all, about Ms. Crawford

during the 2012 and 2013 school year?


A. Mo.
19

Ms. Brabender testified that Ms. Langdon used the word "wildebeest" when Ms. Crawford

first came to Lakota, and Ms. Crawford testified that she started working at Lakota in the 20II-
2012 school year.- Thus, there was testimony that Ms. Langdon used the word "wildebeest" in
referring to Ms. Crawford during the 2011 school year and the 2013 school year, not the 2012-
2013 school year as set forth in the Notice and Amended Notice and, contrary to the Hearing
Officer's findings, not at all during the 2012 and 2013 school yearr^ "

COUNT 4

During your employment at the Lakota Local School District,


from 2008 through the 2013 school year, you were
inappropriately physical with students. You frightened and
upset Student 1when you grabbed and tore his hand away from
student aide, Melissa Meyer. You grabbed Student 5's wrist
very hard and yanked/jerked her hand causing pain. You
grabbed student 6's wrist/hand very hard and jerked her over to
a chair. Once at the chair, you put your hands on Student 6's
shoulders and pushed her down hard into the chair.

Your acts, conduct, and/or omissions, as alleged in Count 4 above, constitute a


violation of Section 3319.31(B)(1) ofthe Ohio Revised Code.

"Doc. BBBB page 1210:7-10, Bales Supp.003606.


Doc. YYY page 625: 21-23, Bates Supp.003014
Doc YYY, page 625: 24-25, page 626: 1-2, Bates Supp.003014-003015
-- "On multiple occasions during the 2012 and 2013 school years. Respondent referred to Kimberly L. Crawford, an
African American private licensed practical nurse assigned to care for adisabled student at the School, as a
wildebeest. Finding of Fact, No. 36 page 26 ofthe Hearing Officer's report and recommendation. Doc. KKK,
page 36, Bates Supp.002340.

23
Count 4is so broad as to be meaningless. On the one hand it sets forth abroad allegation
that "from 2008 through the 2013 school year..." but then includes two specific allegations that at
the hearing were alleged to have occurred during the 2013/2014 school year. Further evidencing
that the timeframes set forth in the allegations were deliberately intended to confuse Ms. Langdon
and specifically to avoid providing her with adequate notice of the actual charges against her, and
create an environment, where, with a compliant Hearing Officer, the Department could literally
throw anything against the wall to see if it sticks.

Again this Court must ask, were the requirements ofdue process satisfied with this notice?
While Count 4 does include references to two somewhat specific incidents, italso includes abroad
six year time frame with no specific allegations relating five of those years, again calling into
question how the ODE can plausibly claim it has met its due process requirements with respect to
the clear and actual notice required to afford Langdon due process. As with Count 1, Count 4 fails
to provide the names ofthose who made the allegations against Langdon, or even the last name of
the two students involved in the incidents alleged such that Langdon literally had for the last names
ofthose students at the trial (727,4-5), failing the requirements ofKom.
In Sohi, the First District Court of Appeals found that due process is not met where the
preheating notice does not include the names ofthe alleged "victims" ofthe alleged misconduct.
Likewise, here, the ODE sfailure to give the full names of the students was not in conformity with
the requirements of due process, thus robbing Langdon of the opportunity "to allow preparation of
a defense to the charges." Sohi, supra, 720 N.E.2d 187, 192

While the Hearing Officer limited his consideration ofCount 4 to only students 1, 5 and 6,
the broad timeframe provided in the Notice necessarily meant that Langdon was once again forced
to engage in asnipe hunt; to attempt to prepare adefense against phantom charges that the ODE -
24
with the assistance ofa consistently pliant hearing officer - may or may not actually introduce at
the hearing. Thus, Langdon's efforts to defend herself were stretched thin by the impermissibly
vague prehearing notice.

COUNT 6

During your employment at the Lakota Local School District.


you exhibited a pattern ot inappropriate conduct that created a
negative and hostile learning and work environment at the
school for both students and staff. In particular, you yelled at
students 1 through 6 and berated, bullied, and made fun of
students 1through 6, staff members, and the parents of Students
1 and 2.

Your acts, conduct, and/or omissions, as alleged in Count 6 above, constitute a


violation of Section 3319.31(B)(1) of the Ohio Revised Code.

Like Count 4, Count 6 throws out a broad (seven year) timeframe with a general allegation
that Langdon "exhibited a pattern of inappropriate conduct..." And then providing only slightly
more particularity by alleging "In particular, you yelled at students 1 through 6 and berated,
bullied, and made fun of students 1 through 6, staff members, and the parents of Students 1and
2." Count 6does little more than restate Count 1while further (and vaguely) broadening the scope
of the complaint to include unknown "staff members."

These broad and inaccurate allegations simply do not fit within the realm of the

fundamental fairness that lies at the heart ofprocedural due process. Applying Kom, again there
is no identification ofthe people who actually made the allegations against Langdon; and like Sohi,
by failing to identify the actual "staff members," deprives Langdon ofthe opportunity to prepare
a defense.

25
Count 6is the perfect demonstration of the undue burden placed upon Langdon through
the use of amorphous, phantom charges. Without any specificity whatsoever, the ODE was wholly
without limit in what allegations it could raise at the hearing. Indeed, at the trial one witness
testified that Langdon threw away astudent's lunch when that student was taking too long to eat.
The Hearing Officer grafted that testimony into Count 6. Appellant had utterly no ability to prepare
a defense to his allegation because she had never heard of it before.

In addition to the lack of specificity as to the allegations and identifies ofthe individuals,
the Hearing Officer used Count 6 as the basis for finding that Langdon engaged in "conduct
unbecoming an educator" by addressing "Kimberly L. Crawford...with a raised, loud voice and
harsh tone..." (Report and Recommendation page 24, Findings of Fact 29-30; and page 39-40,
Conclusions of Law and Discussion, Paragraph W). The Hearing Officer made this finding with
respect to Count 6despite the fact that Ms. Crawford was neither a student; a staff member; nor a
parent of a student. Kimberly Crawford was a private nurse for one of the students at Lakota

Schools during the time Langdon was a teacher at Lakota. Ms. Crawford testified, that she was
"never an employee of Lakota Local Schools" (613: 16-18).

COUNT 7

From August 2013 through September 2013, while employed at


the Lakota Local School District, you did not follow the IE? for
Student 2. Although Student 2's lEP indicated that he was not
to be kept in his wheelchair for long periods of time, you kept
hira in his wheelchair for most ofthe class period and did not
allow him out ofhis wheelchair on a regular basis.
Your acts, conduct, and^'or omissions, as alleged in Count 7 above, constitute a
violation of Section 3319.31 (B)( 1) of the Ohio Revised Code.

26
Despite providing greater specifics and dealing with only one specific allegation (the
Department identifies aspecific timeframe, aspecific student involved, and aspecific factual
allegation), Count? nonetheless fails to identify the person or persons making the allegations.
Thus, once again. Count 7fails to meet the basic requirements ofdue process.
Even with these constitutional deficiencies. Count 7comes closer to the requirements of
due process than any other count. Not coincidentally, the specificity provided in Count 7(and so
lacking in the other Counts), allowed Langdon to actually prepare a defense to Count 7, and
Langdon did in fact prevail as to Count 7.

The Hearing Officer's proposed due process standard for prehearing notice is far below the
actual standard.

The Hearing Officer, ever helpful, himself acknowledged the insufficiency of the pre
hearing notice, but cavalierly (and improperly) disposed ofsuch concerns; reasoning that the notice
was sufficient because Langdon and her attorney were able to figure out - for the most part - the
basis for the action, after the state presented witnesses and testimony, such trivial concerns as pre
hearing notice were simply overblown."^ The ability tolisten tothe witnesses and understand what

they say is somehow determinative of whether the prehearing notice is sufficient? Thus, the
Hearing Officer applies the following standard for adequate notice! If the respondent is able to
listen to a witness' testimony at the hearing, and understand what the witness has said, then the
prehearing notice satisfies the requirements of due process. This reasoning is simply astounding.

"Finally, at the hearing, as evidenced through testimony ofRespondent's witnesses and Respondent as well as the
specific questioning of Respondent scounsel, it was evident that Respondent, with few exceptions, was aware of the
specific incidents cited in the Amended Notice as the proposed bases for discipline." Report and Recommendation
Doc. KKK, Page 30, Bates Sup.002344. Emphasis added.
27
As set forth in Kom, the sufficiency ofthe Notice can be determined by reading the notice.
Did the prehearing notice include clear and actual notice of the reasons? Did the notice include
notice of the names of those who made allegations? Does the notice include the specific nature
and basis for the charges? Applying the exacting but minimal standards as set forth in Kom to the
notice in this matter, the answer is aresounding "No." Langdon was not afforded the requirements
of due process.

Even accepting, arguendo, that the Hearing Officer's standard (the ability to listen to
testimony at the hearing and demonstrate "awareness" of "specific incidents cited" [emphasis
added] in the prehearing notice, establishes the sufficiency of the prehearing notice) is the actual
standard for prehearing notice. Counts 1 and 6 do not cite any "specific incidents." Thus, even
applying the Hearing Officer's novel approach to due process, the Notice and Amended Notice are

irredeemably deficient.

Despite the fact that Count 6 fails even the Hearing Officers own bizarre and convoluted

due process standard, the Hearing Officer cited specifically to Count 6when he found that Langdon
threw away student 6's lunches before she was finished "constitutes conduct unbecoming an
educator under ORC 3319.31(B) (1), OAC 3301-73-21(A)(1), (2), (5), and (8) and Sec. 2 of

the Code ofConduct."-'^ Thus, despite the Hearing Officer's own "finding" that the notice was
sufficient only with respect to those "specific incidents cited in the Amended Notice," the Hearing
Officer nonetheless found violations related to Count 6 which contained precisely zero "specific
incidents" relating to any person, let alone student 6. Further, the student key provided with the

Emphasis added. The Hearing Officer's reliance on the Code ofConduct raises additional notice issues as the
prehearing notice included no reference to the Code ofConduct. And as discussed in Section I above, the Code of
Conduct was never adopted as a rule by the ODE, and has not been incorporated by reference into OAC 3301-73-21.
28
Initial Notice and Notice did not include student 6's last name. As such, it is unquestionable, even
applying the Hearing Officer's own erroneous and tortured understanding ofdue process, that the
Department failed to provide adequate prehearing notice such as to deprive Ms. Langdon of her
due process rights.

Without adequate notice, the administrative hearing is little more than a trial by ambush.
Indeed, the legitimacy ofadministrative hearings relies upon adequate prehearing notice. Often, it
is the only information the respondent will have about the nature of the charges before the hearin
O

The respondent is not entitled to prehearing discovery, cannot compel witnesses to speak to her or
her attorneys before the hearing, cannot subpoena documents from witnesses prior to the hearing,
and is not entitled to the investigatory Tile. In short, without sufficient notice in the charging
document as to the particulars of the allegations, a respondent simply cannot prepare to defend
herself, and the hearing is a mere exercise in futility.

As noted above, Ohio law and the U.S. and Ohio State Constitutions demand that a

respondent be given sufficient prehearing notice "of the charges against him to allow preparation
ofa defense to the charges." Sufficient notice requires "clear and actual notice.. .insufficient detail

to permit the person to present evidence relating to them, notice of the names of those who made

allegations against the [person] and the specific nature and basis for the charges'" Davidson,
Supra. There is no exception to the prehearing notice requirement simply because the respondent
may be "aware" ofan incident that is discussed by awitness at the hearing. The respondent actually
has to be told by the ODE - in the prehearing notice - ofthe specific incidents that actually are the
basis for the action. "You know what you've done" (or perhaps, "you know what we allege that
you've done") is not the standard for prehearing notice. To allow the ODE to draft broad.

29
amorphous charges, leaving the respondent with the choice of either chasing down every possible
allegation, or resigning herself to losing her license, is far below the requirements of due process.
Because the Notice failed to provide sufficient prehearing notice, the ODE's Order is not
supported by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence, and is not in accordance with the due

process requirements of the United States Constitution and Ohio law, and is notin accordance with

the law.

in. The Hearing Officer's decision to allow the state to dictate the order in which Langdon
presented her defense and prior to the close ofthe state's case inchief deprived Langdon
of her right to due process.

As noted above, due process requires that the prehearing notice provide the respondent
with notice "of the charges against him to allow preparation ofadefense to the charges." Davidson,
Supra .Sufficient notice requires "clear and actual notice...in sufficient detail to permit the person
to present evidence relating to them, notice of the names of those who made allegations against
the [person] and the specific nature and basis for the charges'" Id.

Further, as pointed out by the Appellee in its closing argument to the Hearing Officer,
"[t]he hearing must be 'at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner which requires 'that a
recipient have timely and adequate notice detailing the reasons for the proposed termination, and
aneffective opportunity todefend...(Document ODD, P. 4, quoting Goldberg v. Kelly (1970),
379 U.S. 254, 268, emphasis added).

Within the context of unemployment compensation review hearings, the Third District
Court of Appeals set forth that the "failure to allow a party to present witnesses or otherwise

develop their case may be grounds for reversing the decision." Deidrick v. Best Buy Stores. LP,
2011 -Ohio- 1999, ^ 16, 2011 WL 1620647, at *4 (Ohio App. 3Dist.,2011) (citing Owens v. Ohio
Bur. ofEmp. Serv. (1999), 135 Ohio App.3d 217, 219-221, 733 N.E.2d 628).
30
During ascheduling conference call, the Hearing Officer announced that it was his practice
to require the respondent inan administrative hearing to conform her case in chief to the whims of
the state, and to begin presenting her case in chief before the close ofthe state's case in chief. That
IS, for each witness who appeared on the witness list of both the state and Langdon, Langdon would
be required to conduct her direct examination ofthat witness immediately after the state conducted
its direct examination, rather than after the close of the state's case in chief. Langdon's counsel
objected to this procedure during the initial call, and in a motion to move the hearing to Butler
County, during the hearing itself, in closing argument, and in the objections to the magistrate's
decision.

The hearing officer's ruling had myriad egregious effects on Langdon's ability to present
her defense. As but afew examples, Langdon was forced to begin her defense without knowing
what she was actually defending against, or even the entirety of the state's case; additionally,
Langdon could not present her case in the order she chose, depriving her of the opportunity to
develop her own case; further, Langdon was unable to question the state's early witnesses about
testimony of the later witnesses, or the testimony of her own witnesses that did not appear on the
ODE's witness list, in order to flesh out inconsistencies or evidence of mitigating factors. Thus,
Langdon was deprived of her right to an effective opportunity to defend.
The deprivation was exacerbated by the Hearing Officer allowing the State to recall
witnesses and call new witnesses in rebuttal in whatever order the State chose. This trial by ambush

31
environment further exacerbated the harm done to Langdon by the defective notice. This entire
proceeding is simply Kafkaesque.-^-

Thus, because Langdon was not afforded the opportunity to effectively present her defense,
in violation of her due process rights, the ODE's Order is not supported by reliable, probative, and
substantial evidence, and is not in accordance with the due process requirements of the United
States Constitution and Ohio law, and is not in accordance with the law.

IV. The Department failed to provide reasons for amending the Hearing Officer's Report
and Recommendation to include a requirement that Langdon attend anger management
training.

R.C. 119.09 provides that "ifthe agency modifies ordisapproves the recommendations of
the referee or examiner it shall include in the record of its proceedings the reasons for such
modification or disapproval."

"Of, relating to, or suggestive of Franz Kafka or his writings; especially: having anightmarishly complex,
bizarre, or illogical quality," Mirriam-Webster.Com.
See also this apt parallel from UrbanDictionary.Com:
Comes from the author Franz Kafka, and reters to the style with which he wrote his books
Basically it describes anightmarish situation which most people can somehow relate to, although strongly surreal.
With an ethereal, "evil", omnipotent power floating just beyond the sen.ses.
You go to the city to see the law. Upon arrival outside the building, there is aguard who says "You may not
pass without permission", you notice that the door is open, but it closed enough for you to not see anything
(the law).

You point out that you can easily go into the building, and the guard agrees. Rather than be disagreeable,
however, you decide to wait until you have permission.
You wait for many years, and when you're an old, shriveled wreck, you get yourself to ask:
"During all the years I've waited here, no-one else has tried to pass in to see the law, why is this?",
and the guard answers:
"It is U-ue that no-one else has passed here, that is because this door was always meant solely for you, but
now, it is closed forever".

He then proceeds to close the door and calmly walk away.

32
The Order modified the Hearing Officer's report and recommendation to (i) shorten the
time before Langdon is eligible to reapply for a license; (ii) add a requirement that Langdon
undergo afitness to teach evaluation before reapplying; and (iii) add arequirement that Langdon
attend 8 hours ofanger management training before reapplying.
The Order included rationale for modifying the report and recommendation to shorten the
time before Langdon is eligible to reapply for licensure, and for the requirement that Langdon
undergo a fitness to teach evaluation. However, the record of the ODE's proceedings does not
include the reasons for modifying the report and recommendation to require Langdon to undergo
8 hours of anger management training.

Because the Order does not include the reasons for modifying the report and
recommendation to require Langdon to undergo 8 hours ofanger management training, the Order
is not supported by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence, and is not in accordance with the

law.

V. The Department's Order is replete with factual inaccuracies and 'findings" for which
there is no evidentiary support

In stating the basis for the denying Langdon's renewal and revoking her license, the Order
includes a recitation that "from 2008 through 2013, Ms. Langdon was inappropriately physical
with students, including when she grabbed astudent and tore the student's hand away from an aide
and when she grabbed astudent's wrist very hard and yanked/jerked the student's hand..." (Order,
Page 4).

This is apparently mirroring Count 4 of the Notice. However, even ignoring the myriad
constitutional deficiencies of the Notice and the hearing itself, the Hearing Officer's Report and
Recommendation referred to only two instances in which Langdon was alleged to have been

33
"inappropriately physical with students" and those incidents were alleged to have occurred in 2013
and during the 2011/2012 school year. Two incidents during the 2011/2012 and 2013 school years
simply does not support afinding that "from 2008 through 2013, Ms. Langdon was inappropriately
physical... And further shows that the State knew from the beginning that it only intended to
present evidence relating to those specific incidents, but nonetheless drafted an overly broad
charge to force Ms. Langdon to attempt to defend against phantom charges.
Likewise, with respect to the confidentiality of a student's lEP (Count 3), the decision to
deny Langdon's application for renewal and revoke her license was based on allegations in the
Notice and "findings" for which no evidence was presented at the hearing. Specifically, the ODE
"Resolved" that Langdon was "complaining loudly about certain details contained in [a student's
lEP], and Ms. Langdon's comments were overheard by the student, another student, school staff,
and a parent... However, there was absolutely no testimony or other evidence presented at the
hearing that any student (other than the student whose lEP was being discussed) overheard the
conversation. Thus, the Order's finding that the comments were overheard by another student are
wholly without support.

Further, the testimony and other evidence was not that Ms. Langdon was complaining
about the contents of the EEP, rather, and contrary to the ODE's Order, Ms. Langdon was
complaining that the school was not providing services to the student required by the lEP. That is,
Ms. Langdon was speaking out for the student and insupport of the services to which she believed
that student to be entitled, notcomplaining about the services to which the student was entitled.

The Order, Doc SSS, page 4. Bates 000428.

34
Finally, with respect to the student whose lEP is at issue here, there is nothing in the record
or the law that would prohibit a student from knowing the contents of his or her own lEP. Thus,
any disciplinary action predicated upon a finding that a student overheard his or her teacher

advocating on his or her behalfsimply cannot stand.

It is clear that the Order simply parrots the Notice with no regard for what the record
actually demonstrates, and further exposes the extent to which the ODE"s administrative hearing
process is an exercise in futility.-^

Thus, it is clear that the ODE's Order is based not on the evidence presented at the hearing,
but rather is based upon unproven allegations contained in the constitutionally defective Notice.
As such, the ODE's Order is not supported by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence, and is
not in accordance with the law.

VI. The Department failed to adequately consider mitigating factors.


Langdon presented substantial evidence in mitigation at the administrative hearing that was
not adequately considered by the Department.

No consideration in mitigation was given by the Department as to Langdon's efforts above


and beyond those required ofa teacher in organizing events for her students including prom and
homecoming dance events (Document YY, Exhibits E, F, G, and N); graduation parties (Document
YY, Exhibits H); arranging to have a professional hairstylist come into the classroom to provide
haircuts to the students (Document YY, Exhibit PP); annual trips to the humane society (Document
YY, Exhibits B and C); or Ms. Langdon's successful efforts to obtain donations to supply the
school with a fully working kitchen (Document YY, Exhibits U, V, W, X, and Y).

Again, 100% ofdisciplinary proceedings that are decided by the State Board resulted in a finding against the
educator. Asimply remarkably efficient process that the old Soviet judiciary would envy.
35
Ms. Langdon's efforts should have been considered in mitigation. Had the ODE properly
considered the above listed mitigating factors, the result should have been a decision to take no
disciplinary action against Ms. Langdon.

VII. The Hearing Officer erred in finding that Kimherly Crawford was an employee ofLakota
Schools.

Count 6 refers to "staff members." As noted above, the hyper-vagueness ofCount 6 makes
it defective in toto', but particularly where the Hearing Officer cites Count 6 in making findings
and recommendations based upon alleged conduct that did not involve a "staffmember."

Kimberly Crawford was a private nurse for one of the students at Lakota Schools during
the time Langdon was ateacher at Lakota. Ms. Crawford testified, that she was "never an employee
of Lakota Local Schools" (613: 16-18). Yet, despite the uncontroverted evidence, the Hearing
Officer made specific "findings" regarding to Ms. Crawford relating to Count 6 (report and
recommendation page 24, Findings of Fact 29-30; and page 39-40, Conclusions of Law and

Discussion, Paragraph W).

As such, the ODE's Order is not supported by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence,

and is not in accordance with the law.

VIII. Conclusion

As the foregoing, and the record below, demonstrate, what the Ohio Department of
Education has done to Ms. Langdon is an abomination. A passionate and dedicated teacher was

deprived her professional licensure without even acasual nod to the requirements ofdue process.
Her demands for justice went unheeded. And the Ohio Department ofEducation adopted an Order
replete with false allegations against Ms. Langdon; adopted as if they had been proven at a fair
hearing.

36
The Ohio Department of Education has steadfastly refused to adopt rules describing
conduct unbecoming as the Legislature has ordered them to do; creating the environment where
educators are forced to defend against phantom claims before a hearing officer applying a
standardless standard ofprofessional conduct, with an understanding ofdue process that would
make members of the Stasi blush.

The Order is not supported by reliable, probative evidence, and is not in accordance with

law. As such, this Court should vacate the Order, restore Langdon's professional licensure, and
award compensation for fees in accordance with Section 2335.39 of the Revised Code.

Respectfully submitted.

Christopher P. Finney (0037998)


Brian C. Shrive (0088980)
FINNEY LAW FIRM, LLC
4270 Ivy Pointe Blvd., Suite 225
Cincinnati, Ohio 45245
(513) 943-6650
(513) 943-6669 (fax)
chris @fmneylawfirm.com
brian@fmneylawfirm.com

Counselfor Appellant

37
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I hereby certify that a true and accurate copy ofthe foregoing was served upon the
following by electronic mail this 2 7^ay of July, 2016:
Hannah D. Stonebumer, Esq.
Anna M. Seidensticker, Esq.
Assistant Attorneys General
Ohio Attorney General's Office
Education Section
30 East Broad St., 16**^ Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Hannah.stoneburner@ohioattorneygeneral.gov
Anna.seidensticker@ohioattomeygeneral.gov
Counsel for Appellee

Christopher P. Finney (00389980)


Brian C. Shrive (0088980)
Attomeys for Appellant

REQUEST FOR HEARING AND ARGUMENT

Ms. Langdon requests a full evidentiary hearing before this Honorable Court.

Christopher P. Finney (00389980)


Brian C. Shrive (0088980)
Attorneys for Appellant

38
0 Admfn Appeal

Resolution
13. RESOLUTION TO MODIFY THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF
THE HEARING OFPICjER, TO DENY THE APPLICATION FOR AFIVE-
YEAR PROFESSIONAL INTERVENTION SPECIALIST TEACHING
LICENSE, TO REVOI^ THE FIVE-YEAR PROFESSIONAL INTERVENTION
SPECIALIST TEACHING LICENSE OF MICHELLE L. LANGDON, AND TO
DENY MS. LANGDON'S MOTIONS TO DISMISS THE PROCEEDING
I RECOMMEND that the State Board ofEducation ADOPT the foUowing Resolution:
WHEREAS Michelle L. Langdon applied for afive-year professional intervention
spea^st teaching license and held afive-year professional intervention specialist
teaching license issued in 2009; and

Interim State Superintendent ofPublicInstruction


on behalfofthe State Board ofEducation, notified Michelle L. Langdon ofits intent '
to deny or permanently deny her application for afive-year professional intervention
speciahst teaching license and to hmit, suspend, revoke or permanently revoke her
five-year professional intervention specialist teaching license issued in 2009
pursuant toOhio Revised Code 3319.31(B)(1). The notice was based upon Ms.
Langdon engaging in the following misconduct: during the 2012/2013 school year,
while employed atLakota Local School District, Ms". Langdon made unprofessioned,
inappropriate, and critical comments during school hours about students, staff, and
parents and the comments were made to school staffmembers smd students; during a
fire drib, on or about October 2013, Ms. Langdon exited the building witii astudent,
displaying a copy ofthe student's lEP and complaining loudly about certeun details
contained init, and Ms. Langdon's comments were overheard by the student, other
students, school staff, and parents, constituting aninappropriate breach of
confidentiality; firom 2008 tough 2013, Ms. Langdon was inappropriately physical
with students, including fiightening and upsetting a student when she grabbed the
student and tore the student's hand away firom an aide, when she grabbed a student's
wrist very hard and yanked/jerked the student's hand causing pain, and when she
grabbed a student's wrist/hand very hard and jerked the student over to a chair and
once atthe chair, Ms. Langdon put her hands on the student's shoulder and pushed
the student down hard into the chair; during Ms. Langdon's employment atLakota
Local School District, she exhibited a pattern ofinappropriate conduct thatcreated a
ne^tive and hostile learning and work environment atthe school for students and
staff, mcluding yelling atstudents, berating, bullying, and making fim ofstudents,
staffmembers, and parents; firom August 2013 through September 2013, Ms.
Langdon did not follow thelEP for a student; and during the 2012 and 2013 school
year, Ms. Langdon referred to a private nurse within the school as abig gross
disgusting wildebeest; ^d

WHEREAS Ms. Langdon requested ahearing regarding the State Board's intent; and
WHEREAS a hearing was held on July 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, and28, 2015 and
September 1, 2015; and

WHEREAS Ms. Langdon was present at the hearing, and she was represented by
counsel; and

000425
O " (^7
Resolution
Item 13 continued

WHEREAS the hearing officer recommends thatMs. Langdon's license be revoked


andthat herpendmg application be denied. Fijrther, it is recommended that Ms.
Langdon be ineligible to apply for any license issued by the State Board ofEducation
for aperiod offive years. The hearing officer's recommendation is based upon Ms.
Langdon sconduct proven to constitute conduct unbecoming an educator, but also
taking into account Ms. Langdon showing ahistory and displaying astrong passion
to serve special needs students; and

WHEREAS Ms. Langdon, through aletter, dated January 11, 2016, submitted a
motion todismiss this proceeding and restore her licenses. Ms. Langdon submitted
another letter, dated January 21, 2016, restating hermotion for dismissal ofthe
ch^ges and restoration ofher licenses. Ms. Langdon submitted athird letter, dated
February 4, 2016, restating her motion to dismiss the charges and restore her
licenses; and

WHEREAS the State Board ofEducation considered Ms. Langdon's motions to


dismiss as setforth inherletters dated January 11, 2016, January 21 2016 and
February 4, 2016; and

TOEREAS Ms. Langdon timely filed objections and supplemental objections to the
hearing officer's report and recommendation; and
\J^^AS the State Board ofEducation considered the objections and supplemental
objections to the hearing officer's report and recommendation that Ms. Langdon
timely filed; and

WHEREAS the State Board has considered the factors listed inRule 3301-73-21 of
ffie Ohio Admimstrative Code and has considered the Licensure Code ofProfessional
Conduct for Ohio Educators, which contains standards for the teaching profession
and provides guidelines for conduct that isimbecoming tothe teaching profession-
and Of,

TOE^AS the State Board ofEducation rejects the following portions ofthe hearing
officers report and recommendation: reject theRecommendation section ofthe
Summ^y Fact Sheet; reject the second sentence and part ofthe third sentence ofthe
ffist fiiU paragraph beginning on page 44 to delete the language that reads, "I have
filler recommended that Respondent's Pending Application be denied for a
mimmtm period offive (5) years. I did consider both aggravating and mitigating
factors inthe latter decision, and,";, and reject, inits entirety, the Recommendation
section begmning onpage 44and ending onpage 45; and
WHEREAS the State Board of Education adopts the remaining portions of the
hearingofficers reportand recommendation; and
WHEREAS the State Board may determine that a penalty outside the range ofthe
disciplinary gmdelines listed in the Licensure Code ofProfessional Conduct for Ohio
Educators is more appropriate inan individual case based upon the aggravating and
mitigating factors as outhned in Section 3301-73-21(B) ofthe Ohio Administrative
Code andany other factors theStateBoard considers relevant; and

000426
O o
Resolution
Item 13 continued

WHE;^^ State Board finds thatthe administrative record identifies the


followmg nutigating factors: Ms. Langdon has no prior disciplinary history with the
State Bo^d ofEducation; Ms. Langdon has not been teaching since October 2013;
and Ms. Langdon has shown ahistory and displayed astrong passion to serve special
education students; and

^J^REAS the State Board concludes the hearing officer erred when he did not give
the precedmg mitigating factors the weight they deserved when he made his
recommendation; and

the State Board concludes thatarevocation ofMs. Langdon's Hcense and


a demal ofher pending application are warranted based upon Ms. Langdon's
unbecoming conduct. However, the State Board isnot persuaded thata limitation
making herineligible toreapply for a license for five years is warranted in this
matter. The State Board concludes that Ms. Langdon should be eligible to reapply for
ahcense on or after July 1, 2018 provided that prior to reapplication she completes a
fitness to teach evaluation, ather own expense, by a licensed psychologist or
psychiatrist who is pre-approved by the Ohio Department of Education. The fitness
to teach evaluation will assure the State Board that Ms. Langdon can perform the
dixies associated with being aspecial education teacher while ensuring the health,
safety, and welfare ofstudents and others in the school community- Therefore, Be It
RESOLVED, That the State Board ofEducation rejects the following portions ofthe
hea^gofficer's report and recommendation: reject the Recommendation section of
&e Summ^ Fact Sheet; rejert the second sentence and part ofthe third sentence of
me first full paragraph beginning on page 44 to delete the language that reads 'T
have further recommended that Respondent's Pending Application be denied for a
imnimim period offive (5) years. I did consider both aggravating and mitigating
factors m the latter decision, and,"; and reject, inits entirety, the Recommendation
section beginning onpage 44 and ending onpage 45; and. Be It Further
^SOLVED, That the State Board ofEducation adopts the remaining portions of the
hearing officer's reportandrecommendation; and. Be It Further
^SOLVED, That the State Board finds that the administrative record identifies the
rollowmg mitigating factors: Ms. Langdon has no prior disciplinary history with the
State Board ofEducation; Ms. Langdon has not been teaching since October 2013;
and Ms. Langdon has shown ahistory and displayed a strong passion to serve special
education students; and, Be It Further

RESOLVED, That theState Board concludes the hearing officer erred when hedid
not give thepreceding mitigating factors the weight they deserved when hemade his
recommendation; and, Be It Further

000427
O O
Resolution

Item 13 continued

RESOLVED, That the State Board concludes that a revocation ofMs. Langdon's
license and a denial ofherpending application arewarranted based upon Ms.
Langdon's unbecoming conduct. However, the State Board isnot persuaded that a
limitation making her ineligible toreapply for a license for five years is warranted in
this matter. The State Board concludes thatMs. Langdon should be eligible to
reapply for alicense on or a|terJuly 1, 2018 provided thatprior to reapplication she
completes a fitness to teach evaluation, at her own expense, by a licensed
psychologist orpsychiatrist who ispre-approved by the Ohio Department of
Education. The fitness to teach evaluation will assurethe State Board that Ms.
Langdon can perform the duties associated with being a special education teacher
while ensuring the health, safety, andwelfare ofstudents and others in the school
community; and. Be It Further

RESOLVED, ThattheState Board ofEducation denies Ms. Langdon's motions to


dismiss; and. Be It Fxirther

RESOLVED, That the State Board ofEducation, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code
3319.31(BX1), hereby DENIES Michelle L. Langdon's application for a five-year
professional intervention specialist teaching license and REVOKES Ms. Langdon's
five-year professional intervention specialist teaching license issued in 2009 based
upon Ms. Langdon engaging in thefollowing conduct that is imbecoming to the
teaching profession andthat is fully detailed in the findings offact and conclusions of
law ofthe hearing officer's report and recommendation, which are adopted by the
State Bo^d: dming the2012/2013 school year, while employed at Lakota Local
School District, Ms. Langdon made unprofessional and inappropriate comments
during school hours about students, staff, andparents and the comments were made
toschool staffmembers and students; during a fire drill, on orabout October 2013,
Ms. Langdon exited the building with a student, displaying a copy ofthe. student's'
lEP and complaining loudly about certain details contained init, and Ms. Langdon's
comments were overheard by thestudent, another student, school staff, and a parent,
constituting an inappropriate breach ofconfidentiality; firom 2008 through 2013, Ms.'
Langdon was inappropriately physical with students, including when she grabbed a
student and tore the student's hand away from anaide and when she grabbed a
student's wrist very hard and yanked/jerked thestudent's hand; during Ms.
Langdon's emplo3Tnent at Lakota Local School District, she exhibited a pattern of
inappropriate conduct that created a negative and hostile learning and work
environment at the school for students and staff; and duringthe 2012 and2013
school year, Ms. Langdon referred to a private nurse within theschool as a big, gross,
disgustingwildebeest. Further, the State Board, in accordance with Ohio
Administrative Code Rule 3301-73-22(A)(2)(a) and (AX3)(a), orders that Michelle L.
Langdon be ineligible to applyfor any license issued by the State Board ofEducation
until on orafter July 1, 2018 provided that prior toreapplication she completes a
fitness to teach evaluation, at her own expense, bya licensed psychologist or
psychiatrist who is pre-approved bythe Ohio Department ofEducation, andshe
completes 8 hours of anger management training; amd. Be It Further

000428
O o
Resolution

Item 13 continued

RESOLVED, That the Interim State Superintendent ofPublic Instruction be, and he
hereby is, directed to notify Ms. Langdon of this action.

I certify that &e above is a true andcorrect copy ofthe action t^en by the StateBoard of
Education at its meeting on March 8, 2016.

Columbus, Ohio
March 15, 2016 Dr. Lonny J; Rivera
Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction

OFRC0FPSSKAlWUeT

(mwmmm of eohcam

000429
Dave Yost calls education department one ofthe 'worst-run' state agencies in Ohio | The ... Page 1of3
V"

Columbus, Ohio Jul 27, 2016 76' Broken Clouds

hc (Tolumbut. flispatch | ,
Hot Links:

Dave Yost calls education department one of the 'worst-


run' state agencies in Ohio

TheColumbusDispatch Monday May 23, 2016 8:25 PM

Ohio Auditor Dave Yo.st ripped the state Department ofEducation as dysfunctional Monday when he unveiled
REQUEST TO BUY THIS a second report exposing low attendancerate.s at manycharter schools.
PHOTO

ERIC AL8RECHTI The department, responsible for over,seeing the privately operated, tax-funded schools, was "among the
DISPATCH
worst, ifnot the worst-run state agency instate government," Yo-st said during aStatehouse press conference.
State Auditor Dave Yost
makes a presentation on
He recommended takingresponsibilities awayfrom thedepartmentso it could focus on its coredutiesand
charter school attendance
eliminate conflicts.
at the Ohio Statehouse on
Monday Assistant Deputy
Auditor Mamie Carlisle is
"It's ascattershot. It's supposed todo ever\1hing about eversthing. The time has come toshorten the focus,"
behind him.
Yost said. "They clearly shouldn't bedoing advocacy and regulalon" oversight."

>> Like Dispatch Politics on Facebook <<

THE DAILY BRIEFING The Republican auditor also complained about long waits for public information and ongoing problems with
> Sander.s' delegate.-! stage the school data-collection system.
sit-in

> Portman scores FOP "Ittakes weeks ormonths toget data. We've waited on data reports for months on end, simple kinds oftasks
endorsement thatyou would expect data to becompleted (within weeks) even in government," Yost said.
One day after Portman
scores Teamster He recommended mo\ ing the Education Management Information System (EMIS) toanagency with more
endorsement, Strickland expertise to managethe system, to which schools reportstudent enrollment, attendance and other data used
touts Firefighter backing
to determine funding and school performance.
UPDATED Democrat
criticizes no-bid state "ODE's lack ofadequate, committed resources has caused significant delays and hurdles intheroll-out ofthe
contract to GOP consultant
EMIS redesign project, a process that began eight years ago and is still not fully aperatiooal," the report said.
The criticism came two weeks after the State Board ofEducation hired a new .schools superintendent to
Buckeye Forum Podcast oversee the department. Paolo DeMaria, aColumbii.s-based education consultant and former state budget
directorand adviserto twogovernors, starts in July.

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Dave Yost calls education department one ofthe 'worst-run' state agencies in Ohio | The ... Page 2of3

TheDispatch public Board President Tom Gunlock said, "Is some ofitjustified? ProbabI}'. Idon't know ofany organization that
affairs team talks
politics and tackles
can't improve. But we justhired a new superintendent and we need togive him a chance tocome inand make
state and federal some recommendations."
gomment issues in the
Buckej-e Forum podcast. DeMariareplaces Superintendent Richard A. Ross,who retired in December.

Yost's report found that while attendance rates atsome charter schools have improved, only athird of
YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW
students showed up for dass atdrop-out recovei>- schools during surprise head counts by auditors.
* Mark it done: Cheap,
quick public-records
appeals
He urged lawmakers toreconsider how the state funds the 93 charter schools serving students atrisk of
dropping outand those returning tohigh school for a diploma.
"Fifty percent and under doesn't pass the smelltest," he said.

Auditors found attendance ranged from 0to 50 percent ofstudents at the 14 drop-out recover}- schools
visited, for an average of 34 percent.

Of the 30 non drop-out recover}- schools auditors visited, attendance averaged 86 percent. The best
attendance rate was 99.6 percent atWestside Academy in Columbus with enrollment of2010 students, while
the Utica Shale Academy ofOhio in Columbiana Count}- had only 29 percent, or20 out of70 kids.
The attendance review was afollow-up to one Yost conducted in 2014 in response to reports of irregular
attendance and enrollment practices at charter schools, which receive nearly Si billion ayear in state funding.
Ateam ofauditors made surprise visits to theschools Nov. 9.

Three schools were referred to the education department for review because of"high variances in students
counted by auditor ofstate staffversus the number ofstudents those schools reported to the Ohio
Department of Education."

The Urbana Communit}- School, adrop-out recovei}- school sponsored by the Urbana School District,
reported 38 students to state officials but auditors found none. London Academy, adrop-out recover}* school
overseen by London Schools, reported 123 students but auditors found 10. Yost said the academy appears to
be a correspondence school which is illegal in Ohio. Utica Shale Academy was the third referred for review.
"What continues to be concerning is there are too many empt}- chairs that taxpayers are pa}ing to be
occupied, particularly atour high-risk drop-out recover}- and prevention schools," Yost said, adding, "I think
we hav-e to lookat them by the number of livesredeemed."

Chad Aldis, vice president of Ohio polic}- and advocac}- for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which sponsors
11 charter schools in Ohio, said drop-out recov-et}- school attendance has not improved. He noted that Yost
raised the possibilt}- ofchanging the way Ohio funds dropout recov-er\- schools.
Should itbe by attendance when you have attendance in this report ranging from zero to 50 percent? Or
should it be based on completion, for how many kids get... to the diploma stage?" Aldis asked, adding that
could even mean anincreased funding amount perpupil.
In Ohio, Aldis added, there is no standard for what agood dropout recover}- school should look like, so there's
no definitive statement on whether aschool with 50 percent attendance is doing what it should be doing.
Dispatch reporter JimSiegel contributed tothis story.

ccandisk}-@dispatch.com

(Siccandisk}-

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