If your teaching certificate is at risk in Connecticut, it's crucial that you act quickly. After all, you've worked incredibly hard to become a teacher, and you deserve the chance to pursue your chosen career.
However, investigations against teachers and educators can be complex, and so you need experienced attorneys on your side who can support you through the process. That's where the Lento Law Firm can help. For help from our Professional License Defense Team, reach us online or call 888.535.3686.
Remember, disciplinary action can result in license suspension or revocation. Do everything possible to protect your license. Contact us today.
How Teachers Are Regulated in Connecticut
The Connecticut State Board of Education regulates teachers and educators in the state. The Bureau of Educator Standards and Certification, part of CT's State Department of Education, can make decisions regarding teacher licenses and certification. And finally, the Commissioner of Education can make a final decision regarding whether to suspend or revoke a teacher's certificate in CT.
To retain an educator certificate in Connecticut, you must adhere to the Regulations of the Connecticut State Board of Education. These Regulations also contain the Code of Professional Responsibility for Teachers, which establishes the core principles you're expected to follow to remain a teacher in the state.
When Can the Board Investigate Teachers?
The Board can investigate whenever a person with a “legitimate interest” makes a formal complaint against a teacher. Although this is often a school superintendent or a local education board, it can be anyone with concerns about a teacher's competence or performance, or their adherence to the Code of Professional Responsibility.
To be clear, the Board does not have the power to charge any teacher with a criminal offense or conduct any criminal investigations. The Board can't recommend a custodial sentence and the outcome will not impact your criminal record. Board investigations are administrative only.
The exception is if you're facing criminal charges alongside Board investigations. These criminal charges are separate and could result in more serious penalties – such as jail time or a criminal record – if upheld. Your attorney can explain the nature of Board proceedings in more detail based on the specifics of your case.
Investigations Against Teachers
The Commissioner has the authority to investigate license complaints made by a “requesting party”. Following preliminary investigations, the Commissioner must decide whether there's enough evidence to merit a full investigation. This may involve requesting further evidence before reaching a decision.
After considering the initial complaint, the Commissioner may dismiss the allegations or undertake further investigations. There are two possible outcomes:
- No probable cause: There are no grounds for suspending or revoking a teacher's certificate.
- Probable cause: There are sufficient grounds to consider revoking a teacher's certificate. The teacher in question will be formally notified, and the reasons should be specified in writing.
The teacher in question may voluntarily surrender their certificate or request a hearing. At the hearing, the Board considers the evidence and oral submissions made by the parties involved. The Board, represented by the Commissioner, will reach an agreement after a full examination of the facts. The decision will be communicated to the affected teacher and their legal representative.
Just as the Board can issue teaching certificates in CT, it can revoke this privilege. Although you do not require legal representation at any hearing before the Board, hiring an attorney is an effective way to protect your best interests.
Grounds for License Revocation
In CT, the Board can revoke a teacher's license if the teacher:
- Used fraudulent means to obtain an educator certificate.
- Is deemed professionally unfit to perform their duties.
- Acts negligently and fails to perform their duties.
- Is convicted of a crime that brings their fitness to hold an educator certificate into question.
- Another “due and sufficient” cause.
“Due and sufficient” is very broad. What this means is that the Board has significant discretion to decide whether to revoke a teacher's license. You need to even the playing field from the outset by hiring an experienced defense attorney – which is where we can help.
Possible Outcomes for CT Educators
Some actions against teachers will be dismissed outright. Others may result in a simple reprimand, a written warning, or even restricted duties. However, in the most serious cases, a teacher may be unable to teach for a short period (suspension) or lose their license entirely (revocation). Furthermore, if a license is revoked, there is no automatic right to reapply for a new license, and there's no guarantee that a further application will be successful.
Revoking a teacher's license is not a simple decision. A teacher must receive a fair opportunity to tell their side of the story to avoid losing their educator certificate where possible.
Consequences of Disciplinary Action Against Teachers
All license investigations can significantly impact your life. As an example, if you lose your teaching certificate in CT, you can't teach – at least in the short term. Given you are trained to teach, it may be challenging to find alternative employment. What's more, losing your license could affect your ability to teach anywhere in the US.
Other consequences, such as reprimands or remedial action, are less severe. However, any disciplinary action can follow you throughout your teaching career. To minimize the consequences, you must take swift and effective action against any accusations that bring your license into question.
Other Long-Term Consequences
The consequences of license investigations are not limited to the short term. Indeed, they're not even limited to your career. Losing your license, even for a short period of time, can have significant long-term consequences.
- Colleagues may treat you differently going forward, even if the accusations are later proven false or exaggerated. Any disciplinary action can impact your professional reputation, which is why such issues must be handled quickly with minimal fuss.
- You may lose confidence in your own ability to progress as an educator. You could develop stress or anxiety and find it difficult to remain in classroom settings. It can take a long time to restore lost confidence.
- Depending on your situation, you could face financial difficulties because of the action against you. This is especially true if your license is revoked and you lose your livelihood.
This is not an exhaustive list – every situation is unique. To help minimize the long-term impact, it's in your best interests to deal with any disciplinary matter promptly.
How to Appeal License Suspension or Revocation in CT
If you lose your license in CT, it's possible to appeal the Bureau's decision. Typically, this means contacting the Connecticut Department of Education and explaining why the decision should be reconsidered. You may have up to 30 days to request a review; however, the exact time limit could vary depending on the circumstances.
Upon consideration, the decision may be upheld or overturned. The Commissioner of Education will reach a final decision on the matter. There may be further opportunities to appeal if the Commissioner upholds the decision, though. Your attorney can explain what options are available as they relate to your case.
Reapplying for Your Teaching License
Suspended licenses can be reinstated with relatively minimal fuss once the specified time lapses. You may, however, be required to show that you now meet the requirements to teach in Connecticut – there's no automatic right to have your license reinstated.
License revocation is intended to be a permanent solution. As such, it can be challenging to reinstate a revoked license. However, it is possible to reapply after a few years if you can show that you have corrected the issues that led to license revocation. There's no guarantee that the Bureau will reinstate your license, so it's always best to avoid revocation in the first instance. Your attorney will explain the reapplication process if this is something you wish to pursue.
Should You Hire a Professional License Defense Attorney?
If you are contemplating handling disciplinary matters alone, you should first consider how hiring an attorney can help.
- The Bureau regularly investigates teachers. They will not hesitate to suspend or revoke your educator certificate. You deserve to have a representative on your side who will fight to defend your license with equal vigor.
- Given the Bureau's role in disciplinary proceedings, they are highly familiar with the rules and regulations involved. Where possible, they will use these rules to their advantage. A license defense attorney is equally familiar with the processes involved and they ensure that you receive fair treatment.
- Your educator certificate is highly valuable. This is not a time to take any risks with your career – you should know that you're doing everything possible to protect your livelihood.
- Disciplinary matters can stall or drag on if they're not handled effectively. Hiring an experienced attorney will ensure that the case proceeds expediently.
- Defending your license may require considerable negotiation or discussion. An education lawyer can conduct these negotiations on your behalf, ensuring that you present your defense in the best possible light.
Remember, the Bureau has the support of the state behind it. They have significant resources at their disposal. Don't risk putting yourself at an immediate disadvantage. Instead, hire an attorney to level the playing field.
How the Lento Law Firm Can Help
During this difficult time, you may be wondering what you can expect from our attorneys if you retain our services. Although every case is unique, here is how our education lawyers can assist you.
- From the moment you contact us, we take your case very seriously. And we know that every moment counts. We will act fast to determine how best to defend your license so you can focus on moving forward with your career.
- Our lawyers frequently represent individuals who are facing license revocation or suspension. We understand how the legal process works and what challenges you might face. Our attorneys will strive to secure the most favorable outcome possible in the circumstances.
- No two license accusations are the same. We tailor our approach to you, the individual. After carefully evaluating the complaint(s) against you, we will explain the options available for moving forward. We will do everything we can to ensure you have a fair shot at defending your professional license and reputation.
- We understand this is a stressful time. The Professional License Defense Team is on hand to answer any questions you have. We want you to feel assured and confident in your case strategy and empowered to make the best decisions for your situation.
- License hearings are complex and daunting. Your lawyer will be your best advocate and offer much-needed support during the process. And if you wish to appeal a license suspension or revocation, we will immediately get to work on your behalf.
Do not hesitate to contact our attorneys if you're worried that your CT teaching certificate is at risk.
Experienced Lawyers Supporting Teachers Across Connecticut
The Lento Law Firm serves educators across the US. No matter where you're located in Connecticut, we're here for you. Our Professional License Defense Team works in every CT school district, including:
Your teaching certificate is priceless. And as fellow professionals, we understand just how hard you've worked to secure it. So, whether you've been teaching for decades or you're new to the profession, our attorneys are waiting to assist.
Connecticut Teacher and Educator License Defense | Lento Law Firm
The State of Connecticut holds teachers to rigorous standards. If you have a teaching certificate in CT, then you've clearly demonstrated a high level of professionalism, competency, and dedication to the field. One complaint or allegation should not ruin the career you've worked so hard to secure.
At the Lento Law Firm, we're committed to protecting the professional licenses held by our clients. We know you deserve a chance to tell your side of the story and retain your educator certificate. That's why we're ready to stand with you whenever you need us. Whether you're challenging false allegations or attempting to mitigate the outcome of disciplinary proceedings, we can help. Call our Professional License Defense Team at 888.535.3686 or complete our contact form to schedule a meeting.