Pennsylvania K-12 Principal License Defense

It's your passion for helping students learn that caused you to become an educator--and getting certified as a K-12 school principal was the next step on that journey. As a K-12 principal in Pennsylvania, you have spent years building a career based on training young minds and seeing them grow. It's a job that's often thankless, but also quite rewarding.

At the same time, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania holds you to high standards of ethical and professional excellence because people are entrusting their children to your care on a daily basis. That's why all it may take is a single complaint or allegation of misconduct to put everything you've worked for at risk. If the Pennsylvania State Department of Education opens an investigation into your professional license and finds sufficient reason to believe you have violated their standards or the public trust, they can revoke your certification and your credentials, throwing your entire career into question.

The best way to avoid this outcome if you've been accused of wrongdoing is to hire an experienced Pennsylvania professional license defense attorney at the first time of trouble. The LLF Law Team has extensive experience with licensing and school disciplinary matters nationwide. He and his Professional License Defense Team will work to protect your rights and ensure you receive the best possible outcome. Contact the LLF Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case.

What Types of Allegations Could Jeopardize a Principal's Credentials?

The types of offenses most likely to cost a K-12 principal their certification and credentials in Pennsylvania will involve some violation of Pennsylvania's Code of Professional Practice and Conduct for Educators or some other violation of public trust. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Sexual misconduct. Any kind of sexual misconduct with students could result not only in loss of licensure, but also criminal charges. However, acts of sexual harassment or inappropriate sexual behavior toward faculty or staff could also place your credentials in jeopardy.
  • Ethics violations. Common issues to be aware of may include potential conflicts of interest, the inappropriate use of power or influence, and the acceptance of bribes or other gifts.
  • Drug and alcohol offenses. The potential of having your license or certification revoked is very real if you are caught engaging in any type of substance abuse, such as consuming too much alcohol, using illegal drugs, or giving alcohol/drugs to minors.
  • Academic misconduct. This could include falsifying test scores or attendance records, changing the grade of a student without proper authorization, and providing improper assistance to students during exams.
  • Criminal convictions. Being convicted of a crime can trigger an investigation by the Board, resulting in possible disciplinary actions. Being convicted of certain felonies may permanently disqualify you from working in any school in Pennsylvania.

What Is the Disciplinary Process for K-12 Principals in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, issues of misconduct by K-12 principals are administered by the State Department of Education and the Professional Standards and Practices Commission (PSPC). Most disciplinary actions are initiated when someone files an Educator Misconduct Complaint with the Department of Education, alleging misconduct. If someone files such a complaint against you, the disciplinary process will move through a set of stages as follows.

Initial Review

The Department will begin by reviewing the basics of the complaint--namely, whether it has jurisdiction over the complaint (i.e., if you have Pennsylvania credentials) and whether the allegations constitute a violation that would warrant disciplinary action if found to be true.


If the Department determines the complaint against you is valid and within its sphere of authority, it will conduct a preliminary investigation to see if there is probable cause to pursue the matter further--followed by a full investigation if probable cause is found. The investigation can include document reviews as well as interviews with the accused, witnesses, and other parties.

Notice of Charges

If the Department's investigation uncovers sufficient evidence against you to warrant further action, they will file a Notice of Charges with the PSPC against you detailing the complaint and grounds for disciplinary action. You will have 30 days after being served with the charges to respond to the accusations and request a hearing. If you do not respond, the PSPC may impose disciplinary actions on you by default.

Hearings and Final Determination

If you dispute the facts leveled in the Notice of Charges, a PSPC hearing officer will be assigned to your case to conduct a series of preliminary and formal hearings where you may present your defense. An attorney may represent you at these hearings. When the hearings conclude, the PSPC hearing officer will submit a report containing the findings of the hearing and recommended actions. The PSPC will then make a final ruling as to what disciplinary actions may be issued against you, ranging from a private or public reprimand to a full revocation of your credentials and certification. If you disagree with the outcome, you have the right to appeal the decision to the Commonwealth Court.

How a Pennsylvania License Defense Attorney Can Help

The disciplinary process for Pennsylvania educators (including K-12 principals) is constructed in a way that at any stage of the process, the Department or the PSPC can dismiss or resolve the complaint. Involving an experienced license defense attorney as soon as possible in this process gives you a much better chance at resolving the issue with minimal or no damage to your career.

A qualified license defense attorney will be able to review your case, negotiate at multiple points with the Department for dismissal of the complaint during the initial stages, help you prepare a response to the Notice of Charges, represent you at hearings and other proceedings, and present mitigating evidence in support of your position. They can also help you appeal an unfavorable ruling or negotiate a lesser penalty with the PSPC.

In short, your chances of keeping your K-12 principal credentials are much higher with a good license defense attorney in your corner. The LLF Law Team have the experience necessary to protect your credentials and safeguard your career. Contact the LLF Firm at (888) 535-3686 to schedule a consultation.


Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are committed to answering your questions about Physician License Defense, Nursing License Defense, Pharmacist License Defense, Psychologist and Psychiatrist License Defense, Dental License Defense, Chiropractic License Defense, Real Estate License Defense, Professional Counseling License Defense, and Other Professional Licenses law issues nationwide.
The Lento Law Firm will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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