Arizona Reporting of Teacher Criminal Convictions
What are the criminal reporting requirements for teachers in Arizona? If a teacher in Arizona holds a license who teaches at a public school, private school, 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 Laws 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 is passed over 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 abuse 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 as well, 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 would want to look at those state laws and maybe do some research, but you’ll likely have to self-report anyway.
So, keep that in mind in the future. And then also, as I said, if the State Board of Education does consider 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 conclusions of 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.
So, just keep that in mind in the future. And then also, as I said, if the State Board of Education does consider it potentially unprofessional or immoral conduct, they’ll open an investigation. There are discipline guidelines for the type of immoral or unprofessional conduct. You can either negotiate a settlement and agree on the discipline, the findings of facts, and conclusions of law, or if you decide you want to take it to a hearing with the Professional Practices Advisory Committee. So, all of these things, the takeaway from this to remember is if you are ever convicted of a crime within the state of Arizona, that court will forward all that information to the State Board of Education, and it’s likely that an investigation will proceed those findings. Other topics of interest:
- Arizona Teacher Unprofessional Conduct Dismissal (AAC R7-2-1308)
- Arizona Teacher Fingerprint Clearance Card Suspension
Arizona Board of Education Complaints
One of Arizona’s most talked-about wrongful termination cases occurred in 2014. That was 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. The teacher found that they were bullying an African-American student. That is 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. Reasons why educators need legal help when they encounter challenges that put their licenses at risk. We appreciate educators’ role in shaping society. So, commit 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 was 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. That is to determine if allegations constitute unprofessional conduct according to Arizona law. Suppose formal complaints prepared by the Attorney General’s office get filed. In that case, the educator under question must undergo the due process as required by law.
Sanctions imposed by the ASBE become part of an educator’s permanent record. It is often 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 there’s a complaint 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 (A.A.C.), Title 7, Chapter 2, Articles 7 and 13. It is a requirement for ASBE to maintain educator oversight and discipline. In line with this, the board investigates. They impose various disciplinary actions on certified and non-certified educators found to involve 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. They are considered 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 in disciplinary action or fail to listen to your side. For this reason, you need an experienced teacher license defense lawyer. That is 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. That involves 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 renewal application. It can also hear complaints filed against educators.
Once heard each complaint, 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 get canceled or upheld. It may also recommend other disciplinary actions by the board.
Suppose you have an upcoming PPAC hearing. Then, 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 licensed defense attorney to represent you.
State of Arizona Educator Discipline Options?
Facing the ASBE puts your career and future at stake. That is because you’re never too sure about the consequent disciplinary action. The sad part is finding 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.
Suppose a minor complaint gets filed against you. Then, 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. On the other hand, 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. That is regardless of whether there’s a filed complaint against you at the ASBE. Or your case is due at the PPAC. At Chelle Law, our license defense team is there to advise you on the ASBE’s administrative process. And what you should expect while facing criminal accusations.
We have the expertise to investigate the complaints filed against you and build a robust defense strategy. Our goal is to secure the most favorable outcome in your case. That is because we understand your license’s importance to you. Suppose there’s a complaint filed against you at the ASBE. Then, you need an aggressive educator license defense attorney. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.
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 guidelines from the board for what discipline. The guidelines are categorized. 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, 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.
Then it will also talk about if you come to a settlement agreement. So, you agree on finding facts and conclusions of 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.
The Four Basic Types of Discipline
So, this kind of breaks it all down. Then within those categories, it’s going to list what the presumed discipline is. And 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 circumstances 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?
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