Arizona Teacher Discipline Guidelines | Disciplinary Guidelines
What do the discipline guidelines with the Arizona State Board of Education include?
Suppose a teacher undergoes disciplinary action against their license. In that case, there are categorized guidelines from the board for what discipline.
Immoral, unprofessional conduct is comprehensive, so they break it down. It might be breaking your teaching contract with your school and criminal offenses outside school. It could be DUI or assault, or things like that. Then, it goes even further if you’re impaired while at school, which might be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It breaks those all down into those general disciplinary categories for teachers.
It will also discuss if you come to a settlement agreement, so you agree on finding facts and conclusions of the law.
If you contest the discipline or the accusations against you, you’ll go before the Professional Practices Advisory Committee. They would make a finding of facts and conclusions of law. You would put on evidence. If you would like, you can also examine witnesses, and legal counsel can represent you—this kind of breaks it all down. Then within those categories, it’s going to list what the presumed discipline is.
State Board of Education Four Basic Types of Discipline
The state board of education has four basic types of discipline. Those are:
- Letter of censure
- Suspension with conditions, or
Now, those are the four categories of discipline. However, the board or the Professional Practices Advisory Committee will consider aggravating and mitigating circumstances.
Aggravating circumstances may be going to count against you. Have you been disciplined in the past? Was it for a similar offense? Things like that. Those are going to be aggravated circumstances. They’ll count charges against you.
Mitigating circumstances are going to help you. So, have you ever had any prior discipline? If you haven’t, that could be a mitigating circumstance. What were the events around the allegations? If you broke your contracts, why did you do that?
Was there a good reason? Are you leaving the teaching profession or getting hired for a better position? The list goes on and is very vague, but you can use your facts to your advantage to try to help mitigate that discipline.
Again, these are presumptive guidelines, which means they’re guidelines. So, you will hopefully use all the circumstances and facts to help your case.
Arizona Reporting of Teacher Criminal Convictions
What are the criminal reporting requirements for teachers in Arizona?
Suppose a teacher in Arizona holds a license and teaches at a public, private, or charter school. I’m speaking to grades K-12. Suppose you teach any of those grades and receive a conviction of criminal charges. In that case, the court will report your conviction to the State Board of Education.
They’ll hand over any of their findings of:
- Conclusions of law
- Anything that led up to your conviction
It is a requirement by Arizona Revised Statute 13-3990.
Educators Background Check Law Regulations in Teaching
The court clerk will hand over those documents to the State Board of Education for any conviction. So, this is important to remember as an educator. Suppose this happens, and they pass it to the State Board of Education. In that case, it may be an act of unprofessional or immoral conduct.
That is especially anything having to do with a minor:
- If they’re a victim of the crime
- They get into danger, or any child or violent substance abuse
All of which would likely go under investigation by the State Board of Education.
It’s essential to report it yourself, but know that if there’s a conviction in Arizona, the court will send it directly to the State Board of Education.
Suppose you receive a sentence for a criminal act outside of the state. Then, you should look at those state laws and do some research, but you’ll likely have to self-report anyway. So, keep that in mind in the future.
Also, as I said, if the State Board of Education considers it potentially unprofessional or immoral conduct, they’ll open an investigation. There are discipline guidelines for immoral or unprofessional conduct. You can negotiate a settlement and agree on the discipline, the findings of facts, and the conclusions of the law. Or if you decide you want to take it to a hearing with the Professional Practices Advisory Committee.
So, the takeaway from all these things is getting a conviction for a criminal act within Arizona. The court will forward all that information to the State Board of Education. An investigation will likely proceed with those findings.
Arizona Teacher Fingerprint Clearance Card Suspension | Arizona Fingerprinting Board
What happens when a teacher’s Fingerprint Clearance Card gets suspended?
Here in the state of Arizona, there’s a requirement for education professionals to have a Fingerprint Clearance Card. This process is straightforward after you receive the card. However, suppose you’re under arrest within the state of Arizona. In that case, there’s a notification on the Board of Fingerprinting. Then, they may suspend your Fingerprint Clearance Card.
Well, what does card suspension mean for you?
Most school districts do have information in their employment contracts. If not, their teacher’s policy handbooks specify that you must notify the school if arrested or convicted of a crime. You also may be required to notify the State Board of Education directly, depending on the offense and the arrest. Still, the arrest itself will trigger a suspension of your Fingerprint Clearance Card.
Vital Information Regarding Card Suspension
Your card suspension can be detrimental to your employment with your school district. So, what happens after your card suspension?
If your card is under suspension, you can ask for a good cause exception or to lift the card suspension. Most of the time, you must prove the disposition of your case. That means dismissal of the charges or your criminal conviction and sentence to lift card suspension.
Suppose you provide all that information to the Fingerprint Clearance Card. The committee on the Board of Fingerprinting can do these on your card:
- Lift the card suspension
- Grant a reasonable cause exception
- May take it to a hearing where you would meet with an administrative law judge to discuss your case(to see whether to grant you an exception)
All the things to remember most are that if you have a Fingerprint Clearance Card here in Arizona, an arrest will trigger a card suspension. So, you want to be aware of that.
Also, as we talked about, you can ask for a good cause exception to lift card suspension or go to an administrative hearing to show the disposition of your case. That means done. Over with, there’s nothing pending. You’re not a danger to the children you would be working with, and that is the cause why you have your card.
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