Arizona Reporting of Teacher Criminal Convictions
What are the criminal reporting requirements for teachers in Arizona?
Say 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 criminal conviction of criminal charges. In that case, the court will report your criminal 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 criminal 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 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 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, 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 as I said, if the State Board of Education considers it potentially unprofessional or immoral, 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.
The takeaway 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.
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 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 censure, suspension, and 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 is there to advise you on the ASBE’s administrative process and what you should expect.
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.
The 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 Teacher License Defense Questions?
Complaints, Investigations, Appeals and more!