Kentucky has no shortage of dedicated, competent teachers to serve students across the state. As an educator in Kentucky, you no doubt worked diligently to get your teaching license and build up a professional career. However, even qualified and compassionate teachers in Kentucky can face sanctions that threaten their licensure and ultimately prevent them from teaching.
Teachers are vital—they educate children and help prepare them for adulthood. Educators often go unappreciated, though. When a hardworking teacher has their ability to educate students threatened due to a licensure disciplinary matter, we at the Lento Law Firm believe something must be done.
An educator can find themselves in a dispute over their license for several reasons, but it's often because of a miscommunication or misunderstanding. If you're accused of unprofessionalism or unethical behavior, you stand to lose your Kentucky teaching license. You should defend yourself with every resource you have available.
Our Professional License Defense Team can help you protect your license and fight the allegations against you. Call us today at 888-535-3686 or fill out our contact form and a member of our team will reach out to you.
Possible Disciplinary Actions for Teacher License Issues in Kentucky
In Kentucky, the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) is in charge of investigating accusations of misconduct against teachers as well as suspending or revoking teaching licenses in the state. The primary actions that EPSB takes against teachers who are found responsible for violations are:
- Written reprimand: You keep your license, but there is a formal reprimand concerning your conduct on your file.
- Probation or supervision: EPSB may place you on probation or require that you be supervised when fulfilling your duties as an educator. In these instances, you get to keep your license, but any further accusations could lead to more severe penalties.
- License suspension: Your license is suspended for a period of time and you are not allowed to teach during that time. It gets reactivated after that period is over and if you meet any required educational requirements.
- License revocation: Your license is permanently forfeited if revoked by EPSB. There will be a minimum amount of time before you're allowed to apply for a new license. You may also have to complete other educational requirements to re-apply, as well as show proof that you are again fit for practice.
As soon as you learn that you might be under investigation and that your license is threatened, you should contact our Professional License Defense Team for assistance. We can help you figure out how to proceed and guide you through the adjudication process.
The Truth Might Not Be Enough
Many teachers end up with charges against their licenses when they've seemingly done nothing wrong. The allegation might be based on a misunderstanding or miscommunication, not a fault of yours. However, simply standing up at the hearing and stating the truth is often not enough for educators to avoid disciplinary action.
Unfortunately, many educators end up with suspended or revoked licenses because ESPB has failed to follow its own processes. Any of the following errors can happen in your case:
- ESPB didn't do due diligence and uncover all the necessary facts, testimony, and evidence in the case.
- There's a bias toward the complainant (the person or entity that made the complaint).
- Certain evidence or testimony is not considered.
- ESPB doesn't reach an appropriate conclusion based on the information available.
Simply telling your side of the story won't prevent ESPB from making errors. If you hire the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm, we can ensure all processes are followed and hold ESPB to account. We'll work for your due process rights and make sure you have a fair adjudication process.
Grounds for Sanctions Against Kentucky Teachers
Kentucky law gives EPSB the authority to revoke, suspend, or refuse to issue or renew a license if you've violated certain rules, committed certain crimes, or violated the Professional Code of Ethics for licensed educators in Kentucky.
- Having sexual contact with a student or minor
- Any act that constitutes fraudulent, corrupt, dishonest, or immoral conduct
- Willful or careless disregard for the health, welfare, or safety of others
- Physical or mental incapacity that prevents you from performing your duties
- Unlawfully possessing or using a drug while performing your duties
- Incompetency or neglect of duty
- Making any false or misleading statement
- Failing to report to EPSB for a licensure investigation
- Failing to comply with an order issued by EPSB
- Violating any state statute relating to schools or the teaching profession
- Receiving disciplinary action for conduct in another jurisdiction that would constitute a violation in Kentucky as well
Some of the violations listed above are clear, such as failure to report to EPSB during an investigation of your license. Most of those violations, however, are a bit vague. An accusation against you can be subjective—what one person considers “immoral” another might think is completely fine. EPSB has to take every complaint it receives seriously.
Since some of these violations aren't clear, it's vital that you have an attorney's assistance when you've been accused of misconduct. At the Lento Law Firm, our team knows how to deal with allegations based on vague statutes, and we can help you build a convincing case in your favor.
The Adjudication Process for Teacher License Issues in Kentucky
If you've been accused of a violation that puts your teaching license at risk, EPSB and your school district will follow an adjudication process. The proceedings have four main steps:
- Superintendent Action A school district superintendent can receive complaints about individual teachers and must report the complaint to EPSB. The superintendent can also take action, such as terminating or refusing to renew your contract. There may also be a hearing by the superintendent that results in a penalty, but that penalty is separate from the EPSB process.
- Investigation EPSB investigates each complaint it receives about a license holder in Kentucky. It may determine that the matter isn't serious enough to warrant a hearing and issue you a written admonishment. It goes in your file; you may also add a written response to the admonishment to your file. You can also choose to request a hearing. If ESPB wants to revoke, suspend, refuse to renew, impose probationary or supervisory actions, or issue a written reprimand, it must provide you with a hearing.
- Hearing You can choose to have a public or private hearing. It will take place before a panel of three members of EPSB, or a hearing officer. You will have a chance to present your side of the story at the hearing. Once it's over, the panel or hearing officer will decide if you committed a violation and what the appropriate penalty should be, if any. At any time during the adjudication process, you can agree to voluntarily suspend or revoke your license based on an agreement with ESPB.
- Appeal After ESPB issues a final order, you can appeal. You must submit your appeal to the Circuit Court. You have 30 days from the date of EPSB's decision to file the appeal. While judicial review of the ESPB decision is ongoing, the final order still takes effect.
Resolving a teacher's license issue in Kentucky is complicated. There's a specific process in place, and if you aren't sure what steps need to be taken or how best to deal with ESPB, you could easily become overwhelmed. Our team of experienced Professional License Defense attorneys at the Lento Law Firm can help. We've assisted teachers throughout Kentucky and nationwide with license issues so we can advise you and help you navigate the process.
Do You Need an Attorney to Defend Your Teacher's License?
An attorney can be extremely beneficial when you're dealing with a teacher licensing issue for several reasons. The stakes are high, and you can't afford to lose your livelihood, so a Professional License Defense attorney may be your best option.
Hiring an attorney for your teaching license issue might be a good idea because:
- ESPB has many resources. ESPB is part of a state agency with access to numerous resources, including lawyers and experts who specialize in licensure for educators. They've likely dealt with countless cases like yours so they'll be prepared for you. You can level the playing field by hiring an attorney to help defend you.
- You have no experience defending your teaching license. Most teachers we work with have limited or no experience with licensure disciplinary matters. They've never had to defend their licenses before so they aren't sure how to proceed or what the best course of action is. Our team will be able to advise you at each step of the way.
When your licensing adjudication process is ongoing, you still have daily life to deal with. You can worry about teaching your students and let us handle the details of the licensure matter.
How Our Firm Can Help
ESPB might have a lot of resources, but when you hire the Lento Law Firm, so will you. You can expect us to provide the following services:
- Determine the ideal outcome for your case: We'll take an assessment of your situation and the circumstances surrounding your allegation and identify the best possible outcome you can expect.
- Obtain evidence and witness testimony: We'll thoroughly investigate your case and gather evidence to support your arguments. We can also reach out to potential witnesses or expert witnesses who can provide testimony that will support your case as well. The right evidence and testimony can make all the difference in your case.
- Assess options outside the adjudication process: Sometimes, informal negotiations with the DOE's attorneys can yield results without having to go through the whole adjudication process. We'll explore the possibility of negotiating to see if it can lead to a more favorable result.
- Accompany you to all proceedings: We'll be with you at every meeting or hearing you have as part of the adjudication process. We'll also help you prepare for these proceedings beforehand to ensure you know which questions to ask and how to formulate your responses.
- Take further legal action: In some teacher's license disciplinary cases, it's necessary to take things further. If a lawsuit appears to be an appropriate option for you, we'll let you know. We can take care of the litigation for you as well.
Our legal team is experienced with teacher licensing issues nationwide. We'll consider your unique situation and create a tailored defense strategy for your case.
We Help Teachers Throughout Kentucky
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team serves teachers employed throughout the state of Kentucky. Having your license suspended or revoked can have a devastating impact on your personal and professional life—we don't want that to happen to you.
We help teachers in:
- Bowling Green
- Elizabeth Town
- Fort Knox
Even if you're working for a school district not in one of the cities listed above, our team can still help you.
The Lento Law Firm Can Help You Protect Your Teaching License
Getting accused of misconduct or unprofessionalism as an educator can put your Kentucky teacher's license at stake. When that happens, you should take every step you can to defend yourself. The team at Lento Law Firm is ready to work on your case and help you build a defense that allows you to hold on to your teaching license.