Arizona Teacher Personal Misconduct | Various Ways an Educator can get into Trouble
Teachers may be held up on a podium above the rest of us in some people’s minds, but they are human just like the rest of us. They like the same things that the rest of us do. A survey conducted by MDR Education found that 83% of educators said they use Facebook, 72% said they use Pinterest, and 54% admitted using Instagram. Significantly, teachers can engage with social media just like the rest of us. It may even help connect with students and parents in some ways, but it can also be dangerous.
Educators are judged more strictly based on their conduct and professionalism than people in many other professions. Thus, the dangers posed by social media are severe for many educators. We will speak about this and many other topics of concern for teachers in Arizona related to their behavior and how they may be reprimanded for it.
Can Arizona Teachers Get in Trouble for Social Media?
Teachers in Arizona can get in trouble for their social media usage. One teacher in the North Carolina public school system, found herself in trouble with her employer. When a video of her doing some pole dancing leaked out onto social media. The school suspended her, but many are crying foul and saying that her constitutional rights are being violated. It is still up in the air as to how this specific situation will play out. Still, it shows that educators can get in trouble for their social media posts. And then, even if they did not intend for it to be consumed by a public audience.
Arizona Teacher Misappropriation of School Funds
Teachers in the Arizona school system can find themselves in serious trouble if they are accused of misappropriating school funds. Those funds are collected from taxpayers and meant to be distributed throughout the school system for specific purposes. If an educator redistributes those funds in a way they were not intended to be used, they can be in a world of trouble with their school district.
Such violations can result in immediate termination in many cases. And it can be very challenging for educators in this circumstance to overcome their situation and rebuild their reputation. They might have a black mark on their resume that they cannot easily overcome.
What Can Happen When a Teacher Verbally Abuses a Student?
It is never appropriate for a teacher to verbally abuse a student. Sadly, it does sometimes happen when someone hits their breaking point. They may go off on a student who has personally angered them somehow. The teacher who does respond in this way can face some consequences for their actions. These may include:
- A verbal or written warning from their principal
- A disciplinary hearing about their actions
- A requirement to attend communication/anger management courses
- A suspension of their teaching license
- The cancellation of their license to teach
No matter the ultimate consequences of their actions, the fact remains that educators who verbally abuse a student are putting themselves in a terrible position overall. They are making life more challenging for themselves and taking a hit to their reputation all at the same time.
Substance Abuse Issues Among Teachers
The possession and consumption of certain substances are illegal for people, no matter what profession they are in. When those people are teachers, the consequences of their actions can be even more dramatic than they would be for an everyday person. Thus, we must try to address what substance abuse issues among teachers can mean for those teachers.
The mere accusation of a substance abuse issue can be enough to sink an educator’s career potentially. This is because they are held to a certain standard as a role model for their students. The school district reasonably assumes that their educators will work to set an excellent example for the students. This is why there are often such strict penalties for educators who violate these laws.
Can an Arizona Teacher Get in Trouble for Lying on an Application?
Many people have told a little white lie or two on their applications for jobs in the past. Bolstering their profile even slightly may be enough to help land the job. However, educators who are found to have done this on their application can get in trouble for it.
Often, educators who lie on their application do so to try to cover up some previous misdeeds that they don’t want their new school district to know about. It is a sly trick that they may use to try to pull one over on a new employer and attempt to get a job that they do not truly deserve. Sadly, this sometimes works, and certain educators make their way into the system when they do not belong anywhere near a schoolhouse. As a result, anyone found to have lied on an employment application must face severe consequences from the various school districts.
What is Considered Abuse or Assault of a Student in Arizona?
Many behaviors fall under the umbrella of abuse or assault of a student in Arizona. Some of the actions included in these offenses include the following (not an exhaustive list):
- Sexual abuse
- Sexual misconduct with a minor
- Sexual assault
- Sexual harassment
- Child prostitution
- Abuse (physical or verbal)
- Physical neglect
Educators (or anyone else) should never engage in these behaviors toward a student at any time. Doing so is a significant violation of their personhood and their rights to survive and thrive.
Arizona Teacher Sexual Relationship with a Student Issues
Establishing a sexual relationship with a student by a teacher is always wrong, even if that student is of legal age to give consent (18 in most places). The power dynamic between a teacher and a student is real, and having a sexual relationship in those conditions is inappropriate. Thus, it is something that can both violate criminal laws and certainly violates the code of conduct for that school district. As such, it is one of the fastest ways a teacher can lose their privilege to teach in the district.
Subject to a Misconduct Investigation?
Suppose you are an educator facing accusations of personal misconduct. In that case, you can contact us to let our team at Chelle Law review your case/cases and work with you on the next steps. Not every accusation is founded, and not every educator is guilty of what others say about them. We will do everything in our power to help you fight against allegations that are lobbed at you. In due time, we firmly believe we can help you out of this situation with as minor damage to your reputation as possible.
Other Blogs of Interest
- Can You Be a Teacher in Arizona With a Misdemeanor? | Arizona Teachers
- Arizona Teacher Unprofessional Conduct Dismissal | Arizona Teachers
- Arizona Teacher Lying on an Application | Arizona Teachers
Arizona Teacher DUI Discipline Matrix
Today, I’m discussing the DUI disciplinary matrix that the AZ State Board of Education put out. They break down the DUI if it’s your first offense, second offense, how many years prior, that thing. They break the DUI down into certain categories. Then they suggest discipline if there’s a settlement agreement, which means that both parties come together and decide that they agree on the facts and conclusions of the law. Suppose someone contested the discipline or any of the findings of facts or conclusions of law. You’ll go before the Professional Practices Act Committee (PPAC). They’ll decide the result of the facts and conclusions of Arizona’s law.
State Board of Education’s Verdict on PPAC Findings
They’ll bring their findings before Arizona’s board of education. Then they’ll either affirm, amend or reject the findings. So, let’s just break it down. The first one I will discuss is if this is your first DUI. You didn’t get disciplined. The suggested discipline on the matrix chart would be that it would get flagged in cases of any future discipline. But you may not receive any discipline if it’s your first DUI. It’ll get flagged if you have a DUI with aggravating circumstances which they define if that’s a high BAC level. Suppose there were children in the vehicle and property damage, those types of things. Then, you could have a letter of censure view report to a suspension with conditions. Conditions may be something like counseling or rehabilitation. Those are just the catchall category there for conditions.
And then, if you have two or three DUIs within five years, it’s likely that it will be a one-to-two-year suspension. Suppose you have three or more DUIs within five years. In that case, you’re looking at a two-year suspension with conditions through certification expiration. If it gets contested, it can be up to three years. So again, they break down if you’re getting one DUI or multiple DUIs. The time frame in which you call them, the type of discipline. It could be a letter of censure view report, a suspension with:
- Completion of a program
Those types of things.
You’re also going to consider mitigating circumstances within those guidelines as well. Some mitigating circumstances might be remorse, rehabilitation, abstinence from alcohol or substances, and the length of your sobriety. Those would all be considered mitigating circumstances.
Teachers Who Have a DUI | Teacher DUI
In Arizona, receiving a conviction for a DUI may also mean facing harsh penalties. Arizona teachers with a DUI conviction can endanger their occupation—losing a job you love and one many depend on can mean a significant change in life. It is possible, however, to maintain your teaching credentials even if you get a DUI.
Fingerprint Clearance Cards for Teachers
Arizona requires teachers to have a fingerprint clearance card because they work with children and young people. The card allows a person to work in a position of trust. If there are criminal convictions in the teacher’s background, they will get denied a card. If they already have a card when a conviction occurs, they can have their card revoked or suspended. They can lose their job.
In the Case of DUI Conviction
Once a conviction occurs, you could lose your teaching certificate and get fired immediately. In some cases, you might be able to continue teaching, but you won’t be able to renew your contract. It will depend on the case itself.
How Does a DUI Affect Your Teaching Job?
If you get fired because of a DUI, it might not just be this current job affected. It could also be that your future employment will also be affected. This can result in a bad financial situation. On top of this, a DUI will stay on your driving record. This might mean that you get prohibited from driving. This can make it difficult to get any job. Many schools will terminate a teacher with a DUI because it shows the person as irresponsible and unprofessional. The poor decision-making evidence gives pause for the person to be allowed to teach children. However, no matter the consequences, any teaching personnel getting a DUI must not withhold the information. Doing so can adversely affect current and future employment. It will undoubtedly get discovered.
A Good Cause Exception
There are ways to keep your job. When charged with a DUI or having one on your record. You can petition to show that you qualify and are at safety risk for a fingerprint clearance card. You might then prevent the card from getting revoked or suspended. The same applies if there is an offense on your background check when applying for a fingerprint clearance card. Good Cause Exception is a petition to the Arizona Department of Safety. They have an application that is filled out and requires several documents. Filling out the application thoroughly and completely and attaching all required documents will possibly avoid negative consequences.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
DUI convictions are serious and can affect a teacher’s life. When trying to restore your security clearance for a teaching job. It is best to contact and hire an attorney to help with the matter. Contact us today if you want to learn more about the services Chelle Law offers. Schedule a consultation and talk to us.
How Does a DUI Affect Your Arizona Teaching Certificate? | Teacher in Arizona
What happens when a teacher in AZ gets a DUI? Let’s first talk about that at the school level. It’s likely in your employment contract and may address this. If you get convicted of a crime, they may be able to terminate your contract for-cause. If it’s not in your contract, there may be provisions in your handbook or teacher’s policy book that you sign as well. So, you’ll want to search at those two places. Also, the policy book or the contract typically states that you must report any arrest or criminal offenses, if not immediately, to the school.
You want to ensure you read those carefully and know your requirements at the school level. It is your requirement to self-report at the state level with your license. If not, it would get reported by the other agencies. And so, what happens? Having an arrest for a DUI and being charged for a DUI are two different things. You’ll want to know where you are in the process, but if you’re arrested and then charged, the Arizona State Board of Education has a DUI disciplinary matrix. It talks about what happens if you get a DUI.
Varying Levels of Arizona DUI
It goes through the different scenarios and doesn’t state what type of DUI. In the state of Arizona, there are a couple of varying levels of a DUI. But the metrics do not address that. However, it addresses if this is your first DUI, they may investigate. Suppose they don’t find any substance abuse issues. In that case, you can have a negotiated settlement, there may not be any disciplinary action for your first DUI. However, it is flagged.
And what that means is that if you were to get an additional DUI within the next three to five years. You’re looking at suspension or suspension with conditions, which might mean a required counseling or rehabilitation program. They’re also probably going to investigate to ensure you are not under the influence while teaching. And then also, is it under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs or substances? So, that’s all the things that they’re going to consider. If you have three DUIs, you’ll likely either be suspended or have your license revoked here in Arizona.
Search for Mitigating Circumstances in Education
Now, they also search for mitigating circumstances. Like I said, is this your first DUI? Do you have any other criminal history? Have you ever been disciplined before by Arizona’s State Board of Education? Aggravating circumstances become counted against you. Was there a child in the car? Was there any property damage? Have you had multiple DUIs, or is there a history of substance abuse? Things like that will count against you, so your disciplinary action may be a little bit more. But if it’s your first DUI, like I said, it will be flagged by the State Board of Education. And they will watch that to ensure that within the next three to five years. You do not receive any other DUIs, criminal charges, or discipline.
And now, as I said, at the school level, unfortunately, you would have to report it. Look at your employment contract or in your teacher’s handbook to see what the requirements are and what the discipline is. Are you going to be terminated or suspended? Do you have to provide proof of rehabilitation or counseling? All those things you want to take into consideration.
Arizona Teacher Sexual Relationship with a Student
What are the issues if there’s ever an allegation of a teacher having a relationship of sexual nature with a student in Arizona? So, the school would likely start there. If the school found a credible allegation of a sexual relationship, they’d probably immediately put the educator on administrative leave. If not, ask for the resignation or terminate them immediately. And when I say sexual relationship, I also include Arizona teacher sexual abuse or misconduct. So, these are very serious.
Sexual Relationship or Sexual Misconduct/Abuse with a Minor
The school is a mandated reporter, so they would likely immediately report this to local authorities or police. Also, police will be investigating this because it is a crime. The department of child services will probably investigate as well. Furthermore, they’ll report you to the Arizona Board of Education. They’ll conduct their investigation if they think there’s a finding of any relationship of teacher sexual misconduct or abuse with a minor. This can mean communications, physical, social media, or things that. It is more of a broad term.
You want to have a comprehensive understanding of that. This is taken very seriously, of course, by all those administrative agencies. There would likely be a hearing at the state board level unless you decided or agreed to revoke your license. If not, they would conduct an administrative hearing with the Professional Practices Advisory Committee.
Teacher License Revocation
They would make a finding of fact and conclusions of law if they did think that there was a finding that there’s a relationship of sexual misconduct or abuse. According to the State Board of Education guidelines, the educator’s license would be revoked if there was any relationship or abuse. It’s serious because the offense is severe. And so, that’s where it would go. The Professional Practices Advisory Committee would then take their findings to the State Board of Education. And they would likely either affirm, deny, or amend their findings. Again, you will probably go to an administrative hearing at the state level if you disagree with the discipline.
Victim, Parents, and Staff Interview
At the school level, people would likely ask you to resign or terminate you. The investigation starts at the school level, and would involve an interview with the victim or all the students involved. Maybe the alleged victim’s parents, family, and staff. They would go through communications that you allegedly had with the victim. And they might even look at video or audio evidence.
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