Texas teachers are regulated by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA), which enforces the Educator’s Code of Ethics. SBEC has been responsible for investigating and disciplining teachers for misconduct since 1999. SBEC also has the authority to discipline other educators, including librarians, counselors, educational diagnosticians, administrators, and paraprofessionals.
What Conduct Can Lead to Disciplinary Action?
The SBEC lists the following reasons for which it may take disciplinary action against a Texas educator:
- School or educational activities in violation of the law.
- An educator who is unworthy to instruct or supervise the youth of the state.
- Code of Ethics violations.
- Failure to report or hindering the reporting of child abuse or the known criminal history of an educator as required by law and Board rules.
- Contract abandonment.
- Failure to cooperate with an SBEC or TEA investigation.
- Violation of the security or integrity of a state assessment.
- Conviction of a crime directly related to the duties and responsibilities of the education profession.
The foregoing list is not exhaustive. The SBEC may take disciplinary action against a teacher on other grounds available by law.
SBEC considers the following crimes to be directly related to the duties and responsibilities of the education profession, and therefore subject to disciplinary action:
- Crimes involving moral turpitude.
- Crimes involving sexual or physical abuse of a minor or student.
- Other illegal conduct with a minor or student.
- Solicited or actually engaged in sexual conduct or a romantic relationship with a student or minor.
- Crimes involving fraud to become a licensed educator or to hold a position as an educator.
- Crimes involving school property or funds.
- Crimes that occur wholly or in part on school property or at a school-sponsored activity.
- Any crime for which the underlying facts would support a felony conviction for possession or sale of any controlled substance.
- Two or more crimes committed within a 12-month period that involve public intoxication, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, or disorderly conduct.
Priorities for the investigation of complaints are based on the severity and immediacy of the allegations and the likelihood of harm posed by the educator.
What Disciplinary Action May be Imposed?
SBEC is authorized to take a number of different disciplinary actions against a Texas educator found to have violated Texas law or a Board rule. The possible disciplinary actions include a formal reprimand, placing restrictions on the issuance or renewal of a license, suspending a certificate for a set term, requiring withdrawal from an educator preparation program, or the revocation of the license, which includes accepting the surrender of a certificate without opportunity for reapplication for a set term or permanently.
Protecting Your Teaching Credentials
If a complaint is filed against you, the SBEC will investigate and decide whether to take disciplinary action. You have a right to fair and due process and the right to representation throughout the complaint process and at any legal proceeding.
BERTOLINO LLP has been defending Texas educators for years, and we use a creative, results-driven approach to help you get the best possible outcome in your case. Our results speak for themselves. With offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, we proudly represent licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas.
If you are facing allegations of professional misconduct or disciplinary action from the Texas Education Agency or SBEC, contact us today or call (512) 476-5757 and schedule a case evaluation.
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