These days one of the most trying careers is being a teacher. The rules for safety are in flux, which means the where, who and how you teach changes on a weekly, if not daily basis. You’ve likely gone through a fairly rigorous (and expensive) four years of undergraduate education. After that, you’ve studied and completed a teacher prep program, that took another year and a half. So it is unnerving to think that someone can simply raise a charge of misconduct and you could lose it all.
What is “misconduct”?
There are many ways you could lose your teaching license. One of them is being charged with misconduct. What does this entail? Typically, accusations of misconduct involve abuse or neglect of a student. Any accusation of sexual relations or sexual interactions with a student is considered misconduct. Failing to report child abuse can be considered misconduct. Misconduct can also relate to the unlawful use of school property or money or the alteration or manipulation of certificates or licenses. Additionally, abusing alcohol or drugs or selling illegal drugs is misconduct. Lastly, any act of violence can fall under the misconduct category.
What happens after an accusation?
There is an educator discipline workflow chart that lays out the process. To summarize:
- There is a report of misconduct
- The case is opened and investigated, it proceeds or is closed
- A letter of inquiry is sent
- The Committee of Credentials (COC) initially reviews and is granted or closed
- The COC formally reviews and is granted or closed
- The COC recommends adverse action
- The action is appealed or accepted
- If appealed, there is an administrative hearing
- Action moves to Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) agenda
- Case is closed or adverse action is taken
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing is part of the state government. It enforces disciplinary action. If you are facing the loss of your credentials or license it’s important to understand your rights, your options and how best to defend not only your position, but your career. While it is not required to have an attorney, it is strongly advised, even if the accusation is false, unfounded or entirely baseless.