Arizona Teacher Criminal Reporting: Teachers and The Law
An anonymous survey that went out to seven elementary schools in 2005 found that 45% of teachers admitted to having bullied a student, according to reporting by thoughtco.com.
Those are self-reported figures!
While bullying a student may or may not technically be a crime (depending on what the teacher specifically did). It points to a disturbing trend that many teachers are willing to cross lines they shouldn’t. It is why it is so important that we all understand how the law relates to the teaching profession. And how the professionals at Chelle Law can help if you’re accused of violating the law as a teacher.
Today, we will walk you through some of the questions teachers often have for us when they arrive at our offices.
How Does a DUI Affect Your Arizona Teaching Certificate?
A DUI charge is a dire situation, and it points to a complete lapse of judgment on the person convicted of this charge. It is not an automatic guarantee that the board will strip someone convicted of a DUI of their Arizona teaching license. Still, there is a strong chance that this will be the case. It often comes down to the circumstances surrounding the incident and the judge overseeing the court case.
Suppose the drunk driving incident does not cause serious bodily harm or injury to another person. In that case, the Board of Education may grant you some mercy and not strip you of your teaching license. However, the bare minimum consequence you may face is intense difficulty applying for new jobs.
Can You be a Teacher in Arizona with a Misdemeanor?
The way the law is written in Arizona, it is necessary for a judge to immediately report to the Board if a teacher has been convicted in a misdemeanor case. The Board of Education will ultimately determine what to do with this information.
Certain offenses will get a teacher’s certificate revoked every time, including:
- Felonies of any kind
- Sexual offenses
- Drug offenses
- Endangering the welfare of others
These automatic disqualification events will ensure that a teacher cannot get a job within the Arizona school system. That said, those convicted of less severe offenses may still be able to teach within the system. It depends on how powerful the charge is. And then how the Board of Education and the judge in the case view the circumstances.
Arizona Teacher Unprofessional Conduct Dismissal (AAC R7-2-1308)
A particular set of individuals in Arizona can determine a teacher’s conduct during their time teaching. This group of individuals is known as a Professional Practices Advisory Committee (PPAC), designated to take care of the various aspects of a claim of unprofessional conduct.
The committee is to deal with the certification or recertification of a teacher related to matters of immoral or unprofessional conduct. The committee may determine if there are reasons to consider the following steps:
- Revocation of a teacher’s certificate to teach
- Suspension of a teacher’s certification to teach
- Demand for the teacher to surrender their certificate to teach
Those are all steps that the committee has the right to take, and it is something that teachers need to be aware of in case they are ever subjected to having to confront this board.
Arizona Reporting of Teacher Criminal Convictions (ARS 13-3990)
All teachers must be aware that in Arizona, judges are required to report any type of criminal conviction that any teacher may have to the Board of Education.
It is not optional, so teachers must be aware that the school can monitor their actions outside the classroom as closely as they take in school. Additionally, they may be under some added pressure to get things just right to ensure they don’t end up putting their job at risk.
Many educators have a reputation in the community that they do not want to put on the chopping block. It is also essential to consider this when looking at what ramifications can happen when you take actions that aren’t within your typical characteristics.
Arizona Teacher Fingerprint Clearance Card Suspension
Arizona has mandated that all educators in the state must carry a designated Fingerprint Clearance Card. This card provides the designated fingerprints necessary to put on file to verify that someone is who they say they are and that they have clear identification established with the state. They do this to ensure that the educator has not been convicted of any crime they have not previously disclosed to the authorities. All parents and school districts must have the information they need regarding the people teaching their children.
Why Our Attorneys are Helpful
At Chelle Law, we represent many teachers who have found themselves entangled in the web of regulations we have detailed above. It can be a challenge for anyone to keep up with every little thing they are supposed to do to meet all of these requirements. They may need some help defending themselves if accused of violating some regulations required in Arizona.
Additionally, our team stands prepared to defend any educator who comes to us looking for a legal defense against accusations made against them.
False allegations are real, and it may be necessary to protect oneself against those accusations if they happen to you.
Our experienced team is happy to step up to the plate for you and ensure you receive the most potent legal defense against false accusations. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to get started for more information on the steps we take to protect you.
Other Blogs of Interest
- Arizona Reporting of Teacher Criminal Convictions
- How Does a DUI Affect Your Arizona Teaching Certificate? | Teacher in Arizona
- What is Abuse or Assault of a Student in Arizona? | Arizona Teacher Child Abuse
Arizona Board of Education Complaints
One of Arizona’s most talked-about wrongful termination cases occurred in 2014 when a teacher claimed she got fired for defending one of her students against racist bullies. The Fountain Hills Unified School District fired her for threatening five school boys, who she found bullying an African-American student, despite working at the school for 25 years.
This case illustrates how much educators are under the spotlight as they undertake their everyday duties.
It also begs the question; what can teachers do when complaints get filed against them at the Arizona State Board of Education?
Today, the attorneys at Chelle Law highlight the role of the Arizona State Board of Education and why educators need legal help when they encounter challenges that put their licenses at risk. We appreciate educators’ role in shaping society, so we’re committed to ensuring they have a fair hearing at the Arizona Board of Education.
Our team also helps educators to negotiate and review their contracts.
What Is the Role of the Arizona State Board of Education?
Abbreviated as ASBE, this board got created by the Arizona Constitution. Its primary mandate is to regulate the conduct of the state’s public school system.
The ASBE comprises eleven members:
- The superintendent of public instruction.
- Four lay members.
- A chancellor or president of a community college district.
- The president of a state college or university.
- An owner or administrator of a charter school.
- A superintendent of a high school district.
- A county school superintendent.
- A classroom teacher.
In consultation with the state senate, the Arizona governor appoints all ASBE members except the superintendent of public instruction.
They serve for a term of four years, and their roles include:
Receiving Reports on Unprofessional or Immoral Conduct
The ASBE receives complaints about unprofessional or immoral conduct by certified and non-certified educators. After that, it opens investigations to determine whether the allegations constitute unprofessional or unbecoming conduct according to Arizona law.
If formal complaints prepared by the Attorney General’s office get filed, the educator under question will be accorded due process as required by law.
Sanctions imposed by the ASBE become part of an educator’s permanent record and often get forwarded to a federal database. If that happens, the educator in question may get barred from teaching anywhere in the country.
For this reason, it’s best to have an aggressive lawyer if a complaint is filed against you at the ASBE. At Chelle Law, we’ll defend your rights and ensure you get a fair hearing.
Educator Discipline and Oversight
Under the Arizona Administrative Code (AAC), Title 7, Chapter 2, Articles 7 and 13, the ASBE is required to maintain educator oversight and discipline. In line with this, the board investigates and imposes various disciplinary actions on certified and non-certified educators found to have involved themselves in misconduct.
The possible disciplinary actions by the ASBE after an Arizona teacher PPAC complaint hearing include:
- License revocation
The ASBE’s rules stipulate that Arizona educators who violate provisions of the state administrative code are deemed to have engaged in unprofessional or immoral conduct. Such educators are liable to be disciplined by the board as deemed fit.
However, the board can go overboard when handing disciplinary action or fail to listen to your side of the story. For this reason, you need an experienced teacher license defense lawyer to help guarantee the fair hearing you deserve.
What Is the Professional Practices Advisory Committee?
The PPAC is a sub-committee of the ASBE tasked with conducting hearings on certified and non-certified educators in cases concerning immoral or unprofessional conduct. The committee comprises nine members in two alternating groups.
During PPAC hearings, the committee may review the educators’ initial certification and certification renewal applications. It can also hear complaints filed against educators.
Once each complaint is heard, committee members will make findings of fact as per the law. The committee will then pass a recommendation to the board for the educator’s license to either get canceled or upheld. It may also recommend other disciplinary actions by the board.
If you have an upcoming PPAC hearing, you’ll undoubtedly be worried about possible consequences such as:
- Financial penalties
- Even license revocation.
The worst thing you can do is to go to the hearing alone. In this regard, you need a skilled license-defense attorney to represent you.
State of Arizona Educator Discipline Options?
Facing the ASBE puts your career and future at stake because you’re never too sure about the consequent disciplinary action. The sad part is that you might find yourself wrongly accused or summoned for offenses outside the classroom and beyond the school environment. For instance, driving under the influence can attract a summon.
If a minor complaint gets filed against you, the chances are you’ll only receive a warning letter from the board. In this case, you’ll still be able to maintain your teaching license, but the letter will be in the public record. More serious misconduct may attract a license suspension of one to three years, while severe misconduct can lead to permanent license revocation.
Get a Teacher License Defense Attorney
As an educator, your license is your life; having it suspended or revoked means you can’t earn a living. Your career will be in jeopardy, regardless if someone filed a complaint against you at the ASBE or your case is due at the PPAC.
At Chelle Law, our license-defense team advises you on the ASBE’s administrative process and what you should expect while facing criminal accusations.
We have the expertise to investigate a complaint filed against you and build a robust defense strategy. Our goal is to secure the most favorable outcome in your case because we understand your license’s importance to you.
So, contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation if someone filed a complaint ASBE and you need an aggressive educator license defense attorney.
Arizona Teacher Discipline 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.
The Four Basic Types of Discipline
The state board of education has four basic types of discipline. Those are a letter of censure, a suspension, a suspension with conditions, or revocation. 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 Teacher License Defense Questions?
Complaints, Investigations, Appeals and more!