For K-12 school principals, obtaining licensure and certification requires extensive education, fieldwork, and a deep commitment to the education process. Unfortunately, even the most well-meaning and effective principals may find themselves in a position where their credentials are under review or at risk. This can be due to a misunderstanding with a parent or community member, an accusation of misconduct by a teacher, or another source of an accusation. If the state education board decides to act against a K-12 principal, it could result in the revocation of their certification as a principal and their license to teach, effectively ending their career.
Professional Licensure Concerns for K-12 Principals
K-12 school principals are held to a high standard of professional conduct. Most offenses that might result in a principal losing their license and/or certification revolve around issues of ethical/moral misconduct, academic misconduct, or other breaches of public trust.
Common examples include:
Sexual misconduct: This offense can take many forms, including inappropriate sexual conduct towards faculty/staff, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct with students, etc.
Ethics violations: Violating any code of ethics that your state has adopted for school authorities may be grounds for removal. Examples may include conflicts of interest, exerting undue influence, receiving inappropriate gifts/bribes, etc.
Drug and alcohol offenses: Excessive alcohol consumption, using illegal drugs, giving alcohol/drugs to minors, etc., are just a few examples of offenses that can result in the loss of license and certification.
Academic misconduct: Examples include falsifying student records, tampering with grades, and similar activities.
The Investigative and Disciplinary Process
Each state board has its own disciplinary procedures in place, but with minimal variations, the process for investigating and disciplining K-12 principals is fairly similar in many states. The process may look something like this:
- Complaint: Most disciplinary proceedings begin with a formal complaint to the board. This complaint may be filed by a student, parent, coworker, faculty member, or even a member of your local school board.
- Review: The board will evaluate the complaint to determine its validity and credibility, as well as whether it falls within the board's jurisdiction.
- Investigation: After reviewing the complaint, the board will begin an official investigation to determine if there's evidence to back up the allegations. They'll most likely ask you to submit a letter of response to the allegation; they could also speak with witnesses and review documents as part of the process.
- Consent order: In some cases, especially if there's sufficient evidence to back the complaint, the board may negotiate a consent order with you as an alternative to summoning you to a formal hearing. In a consent order, you effectively confirm the existence of wrongdoing and voluntarily submit to the board's disciplinary recommendations.
- Formal hearing: If a consent order is neither offered nor accepted, the matter moves to the formal hearing stage—either taking place directly before the board or in front of an Administrative Law Judge. You'll be asked to provide cause as to why your credentials should not be revoked. You may bring an attorney with you to this hearing.
- Final determination: When the hearing concludes, the board makes a final decision as to whether to revoke your certification and/or license, or whether other disciplinary actions are in order.
Why a Professional License Defense Attorney is Important
Navigating the legal process and defending yourself against a complaint or allegation of wrongdoing can be incredibly challenging and stressful, particularly if you're trying to do it alone. That's where a professional license defense attorney can help.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team serve clients nationwide. They have experience with the state education board and the legal system in general, as well as a deep understanding of the laws and regulations surrounding your certification and licensing. They'll know the procedures that the state board follows and can advise you on the best way to navigate the process.
Professional license defense attorney Lento will take a comprehensive approach to representing you. His Professional License Defense Team will work with you to evaluate the complaint, gather evidence and witnesses, develop a compelling response, and negotiate for the best possible solution in your case. They can act as your legal representative during all communications and discussions with the state licensing board, up to and including any formal hearings.
Working with the Lento Law Firm can greatly improve your chances of a favorable resolution in disciplinary proceedings, reducing the chances of losing your principal certification and/or teaching licensure. They can negotiate with the board at multiple points to dismiss the complaint for lack of evidence or get them to agree to lesser sanctions as a way of resolving the complaint. Additionally, attorney Lento may be able to convince the board to take no formal action at all if the complaint is minor, keeping your professional record clean in the process.
Finally, attorney Joseph D. Lento offers peace of mind. By having his Professional License Defense Team on your side, you can focus on your work and your life instead of worrying about the complaint or investigation. You can trust that his team will handle everything with professionalism while keeping you informed and involved in the process.
Experienced K-12 Principal License Defense Attorney
Professional licensure concerns for K-12 principals are a serious issue that can greatly impact your career and livelihood. It's important to be informed and understand the investigative and disciplinary process, as well as the importance of hiring a professional license defense attorney.
Joseph D. Lento and the professional license defense team at the Lento Law Firm have the knowledge and experience necessary to provide you with the best defense possible.
Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped numerous educators and other licensed professionals across the nation who were in danger of losing their licensure. They understand how much your career means to you and will work tirelessly to protect it; their proven track record of success in defending clients against allegations of wrongdoing speaks for itself. Attorney Advisor Lento and his team understand the unique challenges that principals face and can develop a customized strategy to fit your specific situation.
If you're a K-12 principal facing disciplinary action, don't hesitate to contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686. Alternatively, you can reach out to them online. The team at Lento Law Firm will work with you every step of the way to ensure that your career, reputation, and livelihood are protected.