There’s nothing that makes news faster than allegations of misconduct by a teacher — especially when it directly involves a child in some way. Once an allegation is made, it can ruin your reputation and standing in your community for years to come.
What exactly is professional misconduct for a teacher? Most states leave a broad definition open in order to capture anything that hasn’t been specifically imagined, but misconduct includes:
- Being caught drunk driving or causing an accident while drunk
- Being caught buying, selling, transporting any kind of illicit drugs
- Being caught doctor shopping, forging a prescription or otherwise misusing prescription drugs
- Misusing school property or money that was entrusted to the teacher as part of a school function, club or other activity
- Committing any kind of illegal activity on school property or during a school event (like physically fighting or assaulting someone)
- Abusing a child physically or mentally or allowing the abuse to happen without trying to intervene or reporting it
- Failing to report suspected abuse of a child
In other words, teachers — like many others who hold socially esteemed positions and professional licenses — are expected to be above reproach.
Unfortunately, it only takes one person to make an allegation to the school district in which you work or the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) to damage your life and put you on the road toward losing your hard-earned license. (Remember: It doesn’t matter if you’re cleared from legal charges — the CTC or school board can still take action.)
If you’re accused of unprofessional conduct, take the issue seriously. Find out more about your options and how to present your defense.