To be a schoolteacher in Texas, you must be certified by the state. The Legislature determines the standards that teachers must meet to be certified. Among other things, people with certain crimes on their records cannot be certified. If a certified teacher is convicted of one of those offenses, they will lose their certification and must find another line of work.
Crimes that can get a teacher fired in Texas
Minor crimes like traffic violations will not threaten your teaching career, but teachers face a wide range of offenses that could take away their certification if they plead guilty or are convicted, even accepting a deferred adjudication can result in the loss of a teacher certification. Here is an overview of the type of crimes that the Texas Legislature does not allow teachers to have on their records, using the Educators’ Code of Ethics:
- Crimes involving sexual or physical abuse of a student or other minor
- Criminal activity involving a minor
- Criminally fraudulent activity related to becoming certified or getting a teaching job
- Crimes involving school property or funds
- Crimes taking place on school property
- Crimes for which the underlying facts would support a conviction for felony-level drug possession with intent to distribute
- Two or more crimes within 12 months involving DUI, public intoxication or disorderly conduct
- Any crime of “moral turpitude”
A crime of moral turpitude is any crime that “shocks the conscious” because of its base or vile nature and was done with evil intent or recklessness. Thus, the list of crimes that can cost a Texas teacher their certificate is fairly long.
What to do to fight for your career
As a teacher charged with a crime, the possibility of being sentenced to jail, probation or deferred adjudication is only part of the problem. If convicted, you could lose your certificate and never teach again. Assistance from an experienced defense attorney can be critical when fighting to preserve your freedom, your name and your career.