As a junior high and/or high school instructor, you're a critical piece of the education puzzle, shaping young minds and preparing them for a future that is full of potential. Being a secondary education instructor is an underpaid profession that requires immense dedication and hard work. So, when your teaching license and credentials are under threat, it can be overwhelming and frightening.
State licensing boards take allegations of misconduct or wrongdoing against teachers seriously. And they possess a broad range of disciplinary powers to use against any teacher they believe has violated the standards of conduct. While it may seem tempting to tackle the situation alone, retaining attorney Joseph D. Lento and his nationwide Professional License Defense Team is the best way to ensure your interests are protected, and your license retained.
Common Complaints That Lead to Allegations
Although there is a range of allegations individuals might make, there are some that show up most frequently. Broadly speaking, the following allegations could result in the loss of your teaching license:
- sexual misconduct with students,
- drug and alcohol offenses,
- physical and/or verbal abuse of students,
- cheating, and
- criminal convictions.
The Disciplinary Process for Secondary Education Instructors
Each state licensing board has its own set of disciplinary rules, but overall, the process is similar. Frequently, the process will involve these steps:
- The Board's Investigation: Reviewing the Complaint When a formal complaint is filed, the board initiates an investigation to determine the credibility and jurisdiction of the complaint. They may interview witnesses, review evidence, and subpoena relevant records to evaluate the allegations against you.
- Gathering Evidence: Assessing the Complaint's Validity The board's investigators conduct a thorough examination of the allegations, evaluating the evidence presented to determine if there is enough proof to support the claim. If there's insufficient evidence, the board may choose to dismiss the complaint at this point. However, if they believe there is enough proof against you, the board will move forward.
- The Possibility of a Consent Order: An Alternative to a Formal Hearing If the investigation uncovers substantial evidence against you, the board may offer a consent order instead of proceeding to a formal hearing. A consent order is a legal agreement where you acknowledge your mistake and agree to the board's proposed steps as a result of the misconduct.
- The Formal Hearing: Making Your Case The next step, absent a consent order, is a formal hearing where you have the opportunity to explain why the board should not impose disciplinary action against your license. An attorney may represent you during the hearing, and witnesses may be called to testify.
- The Board's Final Decision: What Happens Next? The board will issue a determination at the conclusion of the hearing on whether to find you at fault regarding the complaint. They will then determine whether your license should be suspended or revoked or if other punitive action should be taken.
Professional License Defense Attorney Joseph D. Lento Can Help
You may want to handle disciplinary proceedings on your own, but that could put you at risk. The state licensing board doesn't have to prove their case "beyond a reasonable doubt," and their primary objective is to keep students safe, not the teachers. This is where the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm can provide crucial assistance and give you a better chance of achieving a positive outcome.
Assessing the Allegations Against You
One of the first ways professional license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento can help you is by carefully examining the allegations and advising you on their implications. His Professional License Defense Team can help you understand the legal and ethical standards you're accused of violating, assess the evidence against you, and help you evaluate the complaint's merits.
Creating a Persuasive Response
Attorney Joseph D. Lento can also work with you to craft a persuasive and convincing response to the complaint. The Professional License Defense Team can help gather evidence to support your case, suggest strategies for rebutting the allegations against you, and prepare you to make your best case before the board.
Acting as Your Legal Representative
Attorney Joseph D. Lento can act as your official legal representative in all interactions and correspondence with the board. This can be a tremendous help, as it relieves you of the burden of having to communicate with the board directly. This also ensures that all communications are accurate, complete, and reflect your best interests.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help you collect testimony to support your defense. The Professional License Defense Team can seek out witnesses who can speak to your character, work history, and any mitigating circumstances that could help your case. Additionally, they can collect other evidence that can refute the allegations.
Negotiating with the Board
Professional license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento can negotiate with the board on your behalf to obtain the most favorable resolution possible. His Professional License Defense Team can work to have the complaint dismissed, advocate for lenient penalties, or strive for favorable terms in a consent order if applicable. Attorney Lento can negotiate with the board's attorneys or investigators to explore alternative outcomes to formal disciplinary proceedings.
Defending You at a Formal Hearing
Finally, if your case proceeds to a formal hearing, the Lento Law Firm can represent you in court. The Professional License Defense Team can present evidence, question witnesses, and advocate on your behalf. They can also provide legal counsel and guidance throughout the hearing, ensuring that you have the best possible chance of success.
It's important not to downplay or dismiss any complaint or allegation made against you, no matter how minor it may seem. State licensing boards have the power to take serious disciplinary actions, including revoking your credentials, even for what may appear to be minor offenses.
Professional License Defense for Secondary Education Instructors
As a secondary education instructor, you need your teaching license and credentials for your career and your future. Don't wait until you're summoned for a formal hearing—that will put you on the defensive, and the board will already have evidence against you. Involving the Lento Law Firm early increases your chances of a favorable outcome. Joseph Lento and the Professional License Defense Team have helped countless clients across the nation successfully navigate similar allegations. They have the experience and knowledge necessary to help you navigate the disciplinary process and achieve the most favorable outcome possible. Call them today at 888.535.3686 or reach out online for more information about how they can help.