Getting your teaching license in Iowa takes a lot of work. You've no doubt put a great deal of time and energy into obtaining your teaching degree, getting licensed, and building your professional standing. Although Iowa is full of many passionate, committed, and highly qualified educators, numerous teachers have had their teaching licenses sanctioned for alleged inappropriate behavior or lack of professionalism.
Misunderstandings, bad communication, or even false allegations can severely affect your teaching career. If you are formally charged with misconduct or incompetence, your teaching license may be in danger, and you should take quick measures for protection. Take advantage of all available resources to safeguard your license—it's your means of income at risk.
At the Lento Law Firm, our Professional License Defense Team is here to provide Iowa teachers with assistance in defending themselves against any charges of misconduct or unprofessionalism. Let us help you safeguard your license so that you can continue with your profession. Give us a call now at 888-535-3686 or complete our form and we'll be in touch.
Disciplinary Actions Against Teacher's Licenses in Iowa
In Iowa, the Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE) is in charge of licensing teachers throughout the state. They can issue, renew, suspend, revoke, or take other actions on your teaching license. BOEE can receive complaints about educators from the following people or entities:
- Licensed practitioners
- Recognized educational entities or state professional organizations
- Local boards of education
- Parents or guardians of students involved in the complaint
- The executive director of BOEE
- The Department of Transportation if the complaint involves the licensee providing driving instruction
- Employees of the Department of Education
As soon as BOEE receives the complaint against you, you are entitled to receive a copy of it as well. At this point, you also have the right to voluntarily surrender your teaching license or agree to accept a lesser sanction without having to start the formal adjudication process.
Iowa's Administrative Code gives BOEE the power to take the following actions against educators' licenses, certificates, or authorizations:
- Revoke a teaching license
- Suspend a teaching license
- Prohibit a teacher from engaging in certain practices, methods, or acts
- Require additional education or training
- Order a physical or mental evaluation or drug screening
- Issue a public letter of reprimand
- Impose fees on the teacher
- Order any other resolution that BOEE sees fit
Once you receive notice from BOEE that there is a legitimate complaint against you, you should seek help from a Professional License Defense Team like the Lento Law Firm. We can advise you on whether agreeing to accept a lesser sanction or voluntarily surrendering your license is the right option for you or if you should go through with the adjudication proceedings.
The Truth Might Not Be Enough
Through defending teachers and other licensed professionals, we've seen that often, the truth alone is not usually enough. Even if a teacher is completely innocent and has done nothing wrong, they may still have their license revoked or suspended. A lot of educators think that if they simply stick to the facts and explain their side of the story, they can prove their innocence. Unfortunately, there are numerous instances of teacher license suspensions and revocations that are the result of misunderstandings.
The BOEE might still sanction your license because:
- It didn't do due diligence to uncover all of the necessary facts, evidence, and testimony in your case.
- There is bias in favor of the complainant (the person or entity that filed the complaint).
- Certain evidence or testimony isn't considered.
- BOEE doesn't reach the appropriate conclusion based on the evidence.
There can be mistakes made during your adjudication process that can get your license suspended or revoked—even if you tell the truth. Having a Professional License Defense attorney like the team at the Lento Law Firm can help ensure the process is followed correctly. We will work to get you a fair adjudication process.
Grounds for Sanctions for Iowa Teachers
Licensed educators in Iowa must follow the standards of professional conduct and ethics. If you violate these standards, you could be subject to disciplinary action by BOEE. Some examples of misconduct or unethical behavior are:
- Conviction of child endangerment, assault, murder, sexual abuse, or kidnapping felony
- First-, second-, or third-degree sexual abuse committed with a person who is under 18
- Dissemination of obscene material to minors
- Sexual involvement or indecent contact with a student
- Sexual exploitation of a minor
- Student abuse
- Knowingly giving alcohol or illegal drugs to students
- Being on school premises or at a school-sponsored activity while under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol
- Misrepresenting or falsifying information
- Submitting fraudulent requests for reimbursement of expenses or pay
- Failing to use time or funds for the purpose for which they were granted
- Abandoning a written professional employment contract without prior unconditional release by the employer
- Denying students to varying points of view without just cause
- Deliberately suppressing or distorting subject matter
- Soliciting students or parents to purchase equipment, supplies, or services for your personal advantage
- Accepting gifts when there may appear to be an actual conflict of interest
- Intentionally disclosing confidential information
- Refusing to participate in a professional inquiry when requested by BOEE
- Delegating tasks to unqualified personnel
- Allowing another person to use your license for any purpose
- Habitual nonparticipation in professional development
- Failing to comply with state or local laws
The BOEE standards of professional conduct are mostly straightforward concerning what amounts to a violation. There's still room for ambiguity, however. Misunderstandings still happen, and they can still put your license at risk. If you get accused of violating these standards, you should have a Professional License Defense attorney by your side to help you defend yourself. The Lento Law Firm can help.
The Adjudication Process for Teacher License Issues in Iowa
BOEE has a formal adjudication process for alleged violations by licensed teachers. This process has four main steps.
- Notice Once BOEE receives a complaint about you, you will also get a copy of the complaint. All complaints must be resolved within 180 days unless there's good cause to extend. You can choose to resolve the matter by surrendering your license or accepting a lesser sanction. If you don't, the adjudication process continues.
- Investigation If BOEE believes the complaint has merit, there will be an investigation. The investigator prepares a report to give to BOEE to determine if probable cause exists. Once BOEE receives the investigative report, it can reject the case, require further inquiry, or accept the case. If the case is accepted, the next step is a hearing, and you can then request to receive a copy of the investigative report.
- Hearing Before the hearing takes place, there's a period for discovery, which allows you and the other party to exchange documents and evidence. BOEE can also issue subpoenas during this time. You and the other party also have a right to request a prehearing conference to determine which evidence and witnesses will be used during the hearing. An administrative law judge presides over the formal hearing. You have the right to have an attorney represent you at the hearing and all other proceedings during the adjudication process. When the hearing ends, BOEE will register a final decision. If you don't agree with it, you can appeal this decision.
- Appeal You have 30 days from the date of the final decision by BOEE to submit an appeal. Once received, BOEE schedules a meeting to consider the appeal. You'll also have the opportunity to file briefs with the appeal that BOEE can take into account. The decision that comes after the appeal is final and can no longer be contested.
How an Attorney Can Help You Defend Your Teacher's License
Even if you don't have to take your teaching license case to court, the repercussions of forfeiting it can be dire. Your job is in jeopardy, so it's wise to seek legal advice from a lawyer who is experienced in defending professional credentials.
An attorney can help for the following reasons:
- BOEE has many resources: As an individual educator, you don't have the same access to lawyers and experts as BOEE does. Don't let that put you at a disadvantage—hire the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense attorneys to help you stay on an even keel.
- You have no experience defending a professional license: Many teachers have not gone through the process of defending their licenses through hearings and adjudication. If you are unfamiliar with this process, you may not know what to do or how to proceed. Our lawyers can offer you advice and guidance at every stage of the proceedings.
We can take care of your licensure issue while you put your main focus on your student's education.
The Services Our Firm Provides
When you hire the Lento Law Firm to help with your license defense issue, you can expect us to do the following work on your case:
- Identify the ideal outcome: We will analyze your circumstances and inform you of what we believe is the best possible outcome for you in light of the charge and its severity.
- Seek relevant evidence and testimony: Our group will do a complete examination of your situation and acquire evidence to back you up. We'll also recognize and make contact with potential observers who can be a witness for you. The proper evidence and witness testimony can strongly influence your case.
- Explore alternate options: We can explore the possibility of settling with BOEE attorneys without having to engage in a full-scale adjudication process. Often, we can achieve a desirable outcome just through these discussions.
- Go with you to all proceedings: We'll accompany you to each gathering, hearing, appeal hearing, or any other event that is part of your teaching license adjudication process. We'll help you get ready for these appointments and make sure all the required documents are filed in a timely manner.
- Start litigation: If appeal processes have not been successful, it may be time to consider legal action. Our team can pursue a lawsuit for you if it's the best route. We will provide guidance on whether further legal action should be taken or not.
Our nationwide legal team strives to provide personalized attention to each client, always working for the best possible results.
We Serve Teachers Throughout Iowa
No matter where you work in Iowa or what kind of teacher you are, the consequences of disciplinary action against your license can be serious. We offer our services to teachers in all districts of the state, for example:
- Des Moines
- Cedar Rapids
- Sioux City
- Iowa City
- West Des Moines
- Council Bluffs
- Cedar Falls
If you are a teacher in any city within Iowa, the Lento Law Firm is available to assist you in protecting your teaching credentials.
Call the Lento Law Firm for Help Defending Your Teaching License
When your teaching credentials are in danger due to an accusation of misconduct or unprofessionalism, our team is ready to help you protect your hard-earned reputation and secure your professional standing. We are here to provide you with the support you need to successfully defend yourself.
If you need to protect your Iowa teaching license, contact the Lento Law Firm now at 888-535-3686 to arrange a consultation. You can also fill in our form with the details of your case and a team member will get back to you.