If you are an educator in Nevada, you have made countless sacrifices over the years. From earning your teaching credential to the long work hours, limited financial resources, and the daily emotional toll of feeling unappreciated, educating students is incredibly hard work. Many school districts in Nevada also struggle with staffing issues, forcing the state's educators to carry the burden of many vacant positions. These challenges are significantly magnified once a mistake or misunderstanding has also placed your Nevada teaching license at risk.
If the Nevada Department of Education investigates you for potential teaching licensure violations, don't fight the state's bureaucracy alone! Contact the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team today by calling 888-535-3686 or filling out our convenient online contact form.
The Nevada Department of Education
The Nevada Department of Education is the official governmental agency tasked with setting educational standards for students and licensing and professional standards for professionals within Nevada. The Department primarily formulates standards by implementing policies for public schools that align with state and federal mandates. To ensure these policies are carried out, the Department also manages the distribution of state and federal funds to school districts to ensure that each district is adequately financed to serve their needs.
From a licensure standpoint, the Department oversees the certification of education in the state and ensures that educators continue to abide by the state's professional, moral, and ethical standards for the profession. If educators fail to do so, the Department investigates instances of misconduct and, if necessary, oversees further disciplinary consequences such as license suspension or revocation.
Finally, according to state law, the Department consists of and oversees several educational boards, commissions, and councils established by state law, some of which include:
- The Commission on Professional Standards in Education
- English Mastery Council
- Special Education Advisory Committee
- Teachers and Leaders Council
- Council to Establish Academic Standards
Licensure Requirements in Nevada
The Department's Commission on Professional Standards in Education is a state-level regulatory body that sets standards for educational professionals within Nevada. The Commission's meetings are open to the public and YouTube.
In addition to other requirements that may apply, educators in Nevada do the following to earn a teaching license:
- Earn a B.A. from an accredited college or university.
- Earn a passing score on the Praxis Core Academic Skills Test for Educators
- Earn a passing score on subject or discipline-specific assessments such as the Principles of Learning and Teaching or Praxis subject-specific exams.
- Pass a background check.
- Pay non-refundable fees for licensure.
It's important to note that licensure requirements vary depending on what license you are seeking. For example, educators seeking a teaching license in early childhood, special education, elementary school, middle/Jr. High school, secondary high school, and substitute teaching are issued a “Standard License.” At the same time, educators in more specialized fields, such as reading specialists, bilingual education, or physical education, must apply to have a “Special License.”
Criminal Conduct That May Prevent Licensure
If you have been convicted of a crime involving “moral turpitude,” the Nevada Department of Education may deny your request for or suspend your teaching license. Some of the offenses that are considered crimes of moral turpitude under Nevada Revised Statutes §391.033 include the following:
- Animal Cruelty
- Elder Abuse
- Human Trafficking
- Identity Theft
- Receipt of Stolen Property
- Sexual Offenses
Under this state statute, educators may be denied licensure for ten years for the following types of offenses:
- Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor
If the Nevada Department for Education has denied your application for licensure unfairly, contact our Professional License Defense Team today by calling 888-535-3686 or filling out our convenient online contact form.
Conduct and Responsibilities Required of Nevada Teachers
Ethical and Moral Responsibilities
Educators in Nevada are held to the state's Model Code of Ethics for Educators, an ethical guide that establishes “principles for ethical best practice, mindfulness, self-regulation, and decision-making . . .” The Code is divided into the following five principles below.
- Responsibility To the Profession:
- This principle underscores educators' vital role in society and requires Nevada educators to conduct themselves to show respect for the profession, often surpassing legal requirements. This principle applies to how educators interact with students and how they conduct themselves with colleagues.
- Responsibility for Professional Competence
- Under this principle, educators must demonstrate ongoing competence and dedication to their profession by understanding and applying competent skills, practice principles, and methods.
- Responsibility to Students
- This requirement states that educators play a fundamental role in society and must exercise this responsibility while treating students with dignity and respect. To do so, Nevada educators must prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of students and ensure that they consistently interact with students while adhering to appropriate verbal, physical, emotional, and social boundaries.
- Responsibility to the School Community
- This principle requires educators to accept responsibility for their actions and contribute positively to the school community by building positive relationships and maintaining effective interactions and professional boundaries.
- Responsible and Ethical Use of Technology
- Before “consuming, creating, or distributing” information online, this principle warns educators to consider whether the information adheres to appropriate boundaries of time and is appropriate given their educational setting.
Professional Misconduct Violations
In addition to moral and ethical requirements, under Nevada Revised Statutes §391, educators may also have their licenses denied, suspended, or revoked for various offenses that qualify as professional misconduct. Some of the professional misconduct violations under this code include things such as:
- Failure to pay child support
- Failure to comply with certain court-ordered subpoenas or warrants.
- Failure to comply with paternity proceedings
- Intentionally advocating for the “overthrow” of federal or state government agencies.
- Persistent refusal “to obey regulations” set by the State Board and Superintendent of Public Instruction.
- Breaching security or confidentiality of the profession, colleagues, or students.
- Falsifying student records
- Unlawful physical or mechanical restraint of a student.
- Failure to fulfill district-employee contractual obligations.
- Sexual harassment
While this is not an exhaustive list, most professional misconduct violations come down to whether the state feels you are fit to serve as an educator, be an appropriate mentor to students, and uphold the profession's reputation. Consequences for misconduct allegations can range from warnings and fines to license suspension.
The Disciplinary Process in Nevada
If you are accused of committing ethical, moral, or professional misconduct in Nevada, the Nevada Department of Education will thoroughly investigate your matter and determine whether future disciplinary procedures are warranted. All disciplinary proceedings must be given in accordance with your “due process rights,” - a legal term that refers to your constitutional right to be notified about the allegations against you and share your side of the story before a neutral decision-maker. The policies and procedures are contained within Nevada Revised Statutes §§ 391.320 through 391.361, which generally mandate the following disciplinary steps below.
The Investigation Phase
After a member of the public, colleague, superior, or student reports you for possible misconduct, the board of trustees of the school district or Superintendent of Public Instruction will determine whether they intend to submit a recommendation for license suspension or revocation to the State Board. Throughout this phase, you may be asked to cooperate in the investigation by providing a statement or documents/evidence your employer may request. If you are at this stage and feel you are being mistreated or coerced, contact our Professional License Defense Team for help responding to the allegations.
If disciplinary consequences are recommended, you will be given a notice that includes the nature of the allegations against you and the potential effects that the State Board is considering. At this time, you may be asked to cooperate with further investigation by the state board.
If the State Board plans to pursue disciplinary action against you, you are entitled to an impartial hearing before a hearing officer. If you do not respond to the notice of hearing, the State has the right to proceed with automatic suspension or revocation of a license. Before the hearing, you must ensure that you comply with many administrative requirements and procedures. These requirements can range from filing a brief, submitting a witness list, participating in mediation, etc. Although you may feel tempted to navigate these requirements independently, this is not advised. The administrative regulations are vast and detailed, even for seasoned attorneys.
There is a chance that you may be able to negotiate a settlement and avoid the upcoming hearing. These settlements often require you to face disciplinary consequences, such as suspension or fines, in lieu of the chance that you may receive a worse outcome at the hearing.
If you do not reach a settlement agreement, your case will proceed to an administrative hearing before an administrative judge. Administrative hearings are like bench trials and require each side to present its case in chief by state evidence laws and procedural requirements. At the hearing, each side will make opening and closing arguments, present evidence and testimony, and have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses.
At the close of the hearing, the hearing officer has 15 days to issue an official report that is sent to the Superintendent of Public Instruction. This report must include the following:
- A recommendation as to whether the hearing officer believes the license should be suspended or revoked.
- An analysis of the findings of fact and conclusions of law that support the hearing officer's recommendation.
At this juncture, the State Board may either accept or reject the recommendation or decide to send the matter back to the hearing officer because further evidence/analysis is warranted. The State Board's decision can range from fines to license suspension or revocation.
Once the State Board issues its decision, it is considered “final” for the purposes of the administrative review. Depending on the circumstances involved, you may be able to appeal the decision or later submit an official request for license reinstatement.
There is little to no room for error in administrative proceedings. Our Professional License Defense Team in Nevada has navigated countless administrative hearings for educators. Not only do we know how to present your side of the story in a manner that serves your best possible outcome, but we can also handle the complexities of the procedural requirements involved.
What About Private School Teachers?
If you are a private school teacher in Nevada, you may or may not have a state-issued teaching license. In fact, there are various ways to become a private school teacher in Nevada, some of which include:
- Holding a valid Nevada State Teaching License
- Holding a valid teaching license from another state
- Holding a bachelor's degree and letters verifying that you have three years of teaching experience in the appropriate grade level for which you would like to teach or
- Holding a master's degree and a letter verifying that you have one year of classroom teaching experience in the appropriate grade level for which you would like to teach.
Consequences of Losing Your Nevada Teaching License
Having your Nevada teaching license investigated, let alone suspended or revoked, can have profound consequences on nearly every area of your life. At the investigatory level, the scrutiny involved and aimed towards your moral character can significantly strain your self-confidence. The stress of the investigation can also bleed into your relationships, affecting your partner, family, and friends.
Should the investigation result in license suspension or revocation, you will likely suffer from guilt, anxiety, and depression, fearing that your reputation, financial stability, and retirement plans will be ruined. Beyond these immediate implications, your career in education or with minors may be impossible to sustain, as future employers will consider your past transgressions.
How the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm Can Help
Our Professional License Defense Team recognizes the dedication and effort you've invested in obtaining your professional license. We are committed to your future and will collaborate with you every step to ensure that your interests are effectively represented before the Nevada Department of Education. Our team not only understands the legal intricacies and procedural mandates involved, but we will take the time to understand your unique situation to achieve the best possible outcome for your future.
Areas Our Professional License Defense Team Serves
Our Professional License Defense Team is available to assist teachers facing licensure actions in all 17 counties and school districts located within Nevada. Some of the major metropolitan areas and school districts in the state include:
- Las Vegas
- North Las Vegas,
- Henderson, Las Vegas Valley
- Spring Valley
- Sunrise Manor
- Carson City
- Carson City School District
- Churchill County School District
- Clark County School District
- Douglas County School District
- Elko County School District
- Esmeralda County School District
- Eureka County School District
- Humboldt County School District
- Lander County School District
- Lincoln County School District
- Lyon County School District
- Mineral County School District
- Nye County School District
- Pershing County School District
- Storey County School District
- Washoe County School District
- White Pine County School District
Our Professional License Defense Team can assist private school teachers in fighting allegations in schools such as the Meadows School, Awaken Christian Academy, Henderson International, and Mountain View Christian School.
Fight for Your Nevada Teaching License
Our Professional License Defense Team recognizes the dedication and effort you've invested in obtaining your professional license, and we are committed to ensuring that your interests are fiercely and justly represented before the Nevada Department of Education. You don't need to fight professional teaching allegations alone; we have the experience, time, and resources you need to face the state's bureaucracy. Contact a member of our team today by calling 888-535-3686 or using our online contact form.