Teachers are frequently held to a higher standard than others in the community when it comes to obeying the law. After all, teachers are vital members of society who provide the power of education to today’s young people. As a result, any arrest or conviction comes with severe consequences to a teacher’s career, even misdemeanors that don’t result in a sentence.
In Florida, a criminal violation can often result in harsher consequences for a licensed professional than someone who doesn’t hold a specialized license or certification. For teachers in Orlando who have professional education licenses, there are stringent reporting requirements for those charged with a crime, whether they receive a guilty conviction or enter a plea deal. Failing to do so could result in additional penalties beyond the statutory consequences handed down by the state.
Rule 6A-10.081 of the Florida Administrative Code, which outlines the rules and regulations for teachers and education professionals, states that these individuals are held to high principles of professional conduct, including provisions to self-report an arrest or conviction within 48 hours:
“[Teachers] shall self-report within forty-eight (48) hours to appropriate authorities (as determined by district) any arrests/charges involving the abuse of a child or the sale and/or possession of a controlled substance. Such notice shall not be considered an admission of guilt nor shall such notice be admissible for any purpose in any proceeding, civil or criminal, administrative or judicial, investigatory or adjudicatory.”
If you fail to report such information, the school district and the Florida Department of Education can initiate an investigation, which could result in additional disciplinary action against the teacher or administrator. If this is the case, you’ll be notified by your school district or the Department of Education, who will send you a letter that indicates the inauguration of the investigation. Discipline can range from a letter or reprimand to a revocation of your certification. The severity of the punishment depends on the specific facts of the case.
No matter the crime you’re accused of, you should be aware of the professional ramifications and the criminal sanctions you could face. Ultimately, if you’re charged with a crime or enter a plea, the Department of Education could find probable cause to warrant sanctions against your Florida Educator Certificate. Even if you’re not charged with a crime, instances of educator misconduct can trigger a disciplinary hearing.
If the Commissioner of Education determines that the educator’s conduct demands disciplinary action, the Education Practices Commission will determine the penalty to issue against an educator’s certificate. Penalties that can be issued against an educator include a letter of reprimand, fines, probation, suspension, or revocation.
If a teacher violates any policy of the Board of Education or the Principles of Professional Conduct that all Florida teachers are bound to, they may lose their employment and teaching certificate. Misconduct that may result in a teacher receiving a complaint and ultimately disciplinary action includes:
Off-campus conduct in violation of Florida Statutes such as drug usage or an arrest can also result in a complaint or disciplinary action against a teacher.
If you’re a licensed educator in Orlando who has been arrested and faces penalties for failing to report the crime to the Florida Department of Education, don’t hesitate to seek professional legal assistance. For help protecting your education, professional career, and rights, look no further than the highly knowledgeable criminal and professional license defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm.
With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our team has the resources and expertise to investigate your case and fight for an outcome that’s in your best interest. We understand the ins and outs of Florida administrative laws and stand committed to protecting you from further penalty and harm to your reputation. Call or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.
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