No doubt you've spent a great deal of effort on becoming a certified teacher in Kansas. Obtaining your teaching diploma, procuring certification, and constructing your professional standing all necessitate a lot of hard work over the course of several years. The state of Kansas is full of passionate, devoted, and well-qualified teachers, yet unfortunately, many of these educators are subject to penalties on their teaching licenses due to alleged misbehavior or unprofessionalism.
Misunderstandings, miscommunications, and even false accusations can have a disastrous effect on your teaching career. If you are formally accused of misconduct or incompetence, it could put your teaching license in jeopardy. It's important to take action to protect your license right away. Utilize all available resources to safeguard your livelihood.
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team is committed to assisting Kansas educators in their defense against any allegations of improper behavior or unprofessionalism. Let us protect your license and keep you doing the work you are passionate about. Contact us now at 888-535-3686 or complete our form and we will reach out to you.
Disciplinary Action for Teaching Licenses in Kansas
In Kansas, the State Department of Education (KSDE) has a Professional Practices Commission that investigates potential violations of the code of professional responsibility. The Commission also hears cases dealing with the issuance, continuance, suspension, revocation, or reinstatement of teachers' and school administrators' licenses. It reports its findings to the State Board of Education for each case it handles, and then the State Board takes action.
The disciplinary actions that KSDE might take against your license include:
- Refusal to renew
- Public censure
It's important to note that KSDE cannot take any of the above actions on your license without first giving you notice and an opportunity for a hearing to tell your side of the story.
The KSDE also has a list published on its site of all the individuals who have had disciplinary and advisory actions taken against them concerning a teaching license or certificate in the state of Kansas. If your name is on this list, anyone can find it and read the final order from your case.
Simply Telling the Truth Isn't Enough
Many educators assume that just telling the truth about any misconduct accusations will be enough to fix the problem. However, this isn't usually the case. We have seen that there are usually a variety of elements that can stop teachers from being able to successfully defend themselves. Too often, teachers' licenses are suspended or revoked from either a misunderstanding or a failure to communicate properly.
Some reasons you might still receive sanctions on your Kansas teaching license despite telling the truth at your hearing are:
- Not all the necessary facts, evidence, and testimony are uncovered.
- There's a bias toward the person or entity who filed the complaint; the DOE wants to show it takes complaints seriously.
- Some evidence or testimony might not be considered during the hearing.
- The DOE doesn't reach an appropriate conclusion based on the evidence.
When you have experienced teaching license defense attorneys on your side, like the Lento Law Firm Team, you reduce these misunderstandings and ensure you get a fair adjudication process.
Grounds for Sanctions Against Teachers in Kansas
Kansas law allows the KSDE and Professional Practices Commission to suspend, revoke, or publicly censure a teaching license in Kansas for any of the following:
- Felony conviction
- Conviction of a crime involving a minor
- Misdemeanor conviction involving theft or drug-related conducted
- Any act that injures the health or welfare of a minor through physical or sexual abuse or exploitation
- Engaging in sexual activity with a student
- Breaching an employment contract by abandoning a position
- Committing contempt of court in a child support proceeding
- Entering a criminal diversion program or agreement
- Obtaining or attempting to obtain a license by fraudulent means or through misrepresentation
- Submitting a complaint about another educator that is motivated by malice
- Denial, revocation, cancellation, or suspense of a license in another state on similar grounds as those listed above
A few other things to keep in mind concerning grounds for disciplinary action against your Kansas teaching license are that suspension and revocation will revoke all endorsements you may have on your license. Also, if you have been denied a license or had it revoked because of one of the reasons listed above, you must wait at least five years and fulfill the obligations of your agreement with the Professional Practices Commission before you can apply for a teaching license in Kansas again.
The Adjudication Process for Teaching License Issues in Kansas
The Professional Practices Commission must follow an adjudication process when it receives complaints about Kansas educators. This formal process has four major steps:
The adjudication process starts when the Professional Practices Commission receives a complaint about you. Complaints can come from the Commission itself or from another teacher or school administrator. You will receive a copy of the complaint and then have 20 days to file an answer. You must submit a response to the complaint if you want a chance to prove your innocence. Not sending an answer is the equivalent of admitting to the allegations in the complaint.
Keep in mind that as long as you have followed proper license renewal procedures up until this point, your Kansas teaching license is still active while the adjudication process is ongoing. No action against your license will go into effect until the KSDE submits a final order.
The presiding officer, in your case, may decide to have a prehearing conference before the real hearing takes place. At this meeting, you will discuss things like the number of witnesses permitted at the hearing, the order of the hearing, clarifications on discovery, and other things. Discover is the process of sending and receiving documents and information to and from the other party before the hearing.
After the prehearing conference and discovery are over, the hearing can take place. The hearing's presiding officer will be either the head of KSDE or an officer from the office of administrative hearings.
At the hearing, you will have the chance to respond, present evidence and argument, conduct cross-examination, and submit rebuttal evidence. You may also have the chance to present an oral or written statement. You are allowed to have legal counsel present with you at the hearing.
Once the hearing is over, the commission enters an initial order, which recommends which action to take to KSDE. The initial order can be any of the following:
- Dismissal of the complaint
- Denial, suspension, or revocation of your license
- Public censure
The Professional Practices Commission then sends this initial order to KSDE for review and final approval.
The initial order isn't final; it's a recommendation. KSDE allows you a chance to fight this initial order and state why the recommended action shouldn't be taken. You can submit a petition for review of the initial order with the head of KSDE within 15 days of receiving the initial order. The KSDE head can decide whether they want to approve the petition for review or not. If they do approve it, you may be asked to file a brief or present an oral argument before the KSDE head.
The head of KSDE can decide to publish a final order or to remand the matter for further proceedings. Once the final order is in place, you have one final option for appeal, which is judicial review with the Kansas administrative law courts.
Do You Need an Attorney to Help You Defend Your Teaching License in Kansas?
Having your teaching license revoked is not a criminal offense, but it may still be in your best interest to get legal advice. The Lento Law Firm is experienced in dealing with educators like you who are on the verge of losing their licenses—which can be incredibly detrimental to your career and reputation.
You might consider hiring an attorney for your teaching license issue for the following reasons:
- You're going up against a state agency: The DOE has a team of lawyers and experts to handle teaching license issues, so they may be well ahead of you and have more experience than you. To make things more even, you should consider employing a lawyer who is knowledgeable in professional licensing.
- You probably lack experience defending your license: Many instructors lack knowledge in dealing with license matters in a legal sense. You may not have been to a hearing of this kind before and may be unsure of the proper protocols. Our lawyers are here to offer guidance and recommend the best plan of action.
The Services Our Firm Provides for Kansas Teachers
Our Professional License Defense attorneys at the Lento Law Firm will help you fight to keep your Kansas teaching license. Some examples of what we'll help you with include:
- Assessing your ideal case outcome: We will examine your situation and give you our opinion and counsel. You can get a good understanding of the most ideal result for you by considering the various components of your case.
- Obtaining evidence and testimony: We'll conduct a comprehensive investigation of the pertinent facts and communicate with potential witnesses. We'll record all the data that could be beneficial to you and use it to pursue a beneficial result for your case.
- Exploring options outside of the adjudication process: Rather than engaging in a lengthy adjudication process, we could try to settle the issue by negotiating with the DOE. We can represent you in speaking with the agency's attorneys and strive to come up with a satisfactory outcome via negotiations.
- Accompanying you to meetings and hearings: At each of your official meetings or hearings related to your teaching license issue, one of our attorneys will be present to provide you with advice on how to answer any inquiries. We'll also help you prepare before the meeting or hearing.
- Initiating litigation: If you're not satisfied with the results of the adjudication process, our team can help you decide if filing a lawsuit is the right choice. This is a serious decision and should not be taken lightly.
Our knowledgeable lawyers collaborate with educators across the country to protect their certifications. We take your individual requirements and circumstances into consideration when providing counsel and strive to secure the optimal result for you.
We Serve Teachers Across Kansas
Our Professional License Defense attorneys can help you no matter where you're employed as a teacher in Kansas. We serve teachers in the following cities:
- Overland Park
- Kansas City
- Dodge City
- Garden City
Even if you're working in a school district in a city or town not listed above, our team can help you defend your license.
The Lento Law Firm Can Help
If you are charged with breaking the rules for certified teachers in Kansas, your license may be in danger. Doing whatever is necessary to keep it is of the utmost importance. The Lento Law Firm is here to help you and can suggest the proper steps to take. We want to ensure you can keep your career.
Contact the Lento Law Firm now at 888-535-3686 for a consultation about defense strategies for your Kansas teaching license. Alternatively, you can submit your case information through our form, and a representative will get back to you shortly.