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How long can a criminal conviction impact a teacher’s career?

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Education law

Teachers work very demanding jobs for relatively low wages, when considering the impact their careers can have on others. However, with years of dedicated service, teachers can eventually earn more competitive salaries and can retire comfortably. Teachers in Texas typically need to meet very strict standards regarding their education. They also need to obtain an educator certification from the Texas Education Agency, which oversees the certification process.

Certain personal issues could potentially affect an educator’s career. For example, a teacher who pleads guilty or gets convicted of a criminal offense could face major career consequences. How long can a criminal record potentially affect someone who works as a teacher?

Their certification could be at risk for years

The Texas Education Agency conducts background checks when issuing a new certification or when renewing an existing one. Someone who has already obtained a job at a school may believe that a criminal conviction is unlikely to affect their career.

Especially if someone specifically sought out a lifetime certification, they might believe that they can hide the record of their conviction from the school that employs them and the Texas Education Agency so that they can maintain their career and their certification. A criminal record often comes to light during the certification renewal process or when a teacher applies for a new position in a different school district.

Members of the public can also potentially notify the Texas Education Agency about someone’s recent conviction, which could lead to disciplinary efforts. If a teacher fails to disclose their conviction and the offense involves moral turpitude, they could be at risk of losing their certification for the rest of their career. The type of charges that a teacher faces and any prior blemishes on their criminal record can influence the likelihood of this offense costing a teacher their certification.

Oftentimes, the surest way for an educational professional to protect their career when accused of criminal activity is to avoid a conviction. Working with the defense attorney to fight pending charges can help an educator preserve their certification and their employment. An educator also has the option of securing legal representation for any hearings they must attend in front of the Texas Education Agency because of criminal charges.

Having representation during a disciplinary hearing could help a teacher protect their teaching certification despite criminal accusations or other issues. Texas educators who understand how even infractions that occur outside of school could affect their careers can respond appropriately to pending charges.