As a Texas educator, you use your education, knowledge, and skills to help your student learn to the best of your ability. However, you also are a licensed professional who must follow all the rules and laws that apply to your profession. Therefore, your license may be at risk when a student, parent, fellow educator, or administrator reports you for misconduct or otherwise complains about your actions. In certain cases, you also risk being placed on the Do Not Hire Registry of the Texas Education Agency (TEA). In this situation, you should take steps to protect your license by enlisting the help of an experienced psychologist license defense lawyer.
About the Do Not Hire Registry
The Texas legislature created the Do Not Hire Registry, officially called the Registry of Persons Not Eligible for Employment in Public Schools, which became effective in January 2020. The Registry is a list of persons available to the public whom the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) generally has disqualified from employment in public schools due to misconduct or criminal history. However, the Registry does not contain the names of SBEC certificate holders; all the persons on this list are non-certified in that they were determined to be ineligible for a certificate or had their certificates revoked. Public schools include all Texas public school districts, districts of innovation, charter schools, regional education service centers, or shared service arrangements.
Under Tex. Edu. Code §22.092, the following persons must be listed on the Registry as excluded from public school employment:
- a person determined by the agency as a person who would not be eligible for educator certification based on a national criminal history review for certain open-enrollment charter school employees;
- a person determined by the agency to be not eligible for employment as a non-certified employee based on the person’s criminal history record information;
- a person who is not eligible for employment based on criminal history record information received by the agency relating to a conviction or placement on deferred adjudication community supervision for some criminal offenses;
- a person whose certification or permit is revoked by the State Board for Educator Certification on a finding that the person engaged in certain types of misconduct; and
- a person determined by the commissioner to have engaged in abuse or misconduct related to a student.
All persons’ names listed on the Registry are listed as “under investigation” or “not eligible for hire.” If the SBEC has investigated a person and has cleared that person of any misconduct or wrongdoing, that person’s name will not appear on the Registry.
Reporting Information to the SBEC for Registry Inclusion
TEA obtains information about individuals for inclusion on the Do Not Hire Registry through the mandatory reporting requirement established under Tex. Edu. Code §22.093. This section requires the superintendent or director of a school district, district of innovation, open-enrollment charter school, other charter entity, regional education service center, or shared services arrangement to notify the SBEC if any of the following circumstances occur:
- an employee’s employment at the school district, district of innovation, charter school, other charter entity, service center, or shared services arrangement was terminated, and there is evidence that the employee:
- abused or otherwise committed an unlawful act with a student or minor; or
- was involved in a romantic relationship with or solicited or engaged in sexual contact with a student or minor; or
- the employee resigned and there is evidence that the employee engaged in the type of misconduct described above.
Criminal Offenses that Qualify Individuals for Registry Inclusion
Conviction of or placement on deferred adjudication community supervision for certain criminal offenses also renders individuals ineligible for employment in public schools. Therefore, these criminal offenses qualify those individuals for inclusion on the Do Not Hire Registry. Under Tex. Edu. Code §22.085, the following offenses disqualify individuals from public school employment:
- any offense for which an individual is required to register as a sex offender;
- any felony offense if the victim was under the age of 18 at the time that the offense was committed; or
- any offense under the law of another state that is equivalent to a Texas offense that would require sex offender registration or be a felony offense involving a victim under 18.
The only exception to this section is if the individual committed the offense under Title 5 of the Texas Penal Code and was more than 30 years before the effective date of S.B. No. 9, 2007, or the date that the individual’s employment will begin. The individual also must have satisfied all terms and requirements of the conviction.
Find Out More About How to Best Handle Your Disciplinary Proceedings
We want to help put you in the best position to protect your teaching or professional educator’s license. As a result, you need immediate legal representation to defend your license from these potentially severe consequences. At Bertolino LLP, we offer experienced teaching license defense services for those facing disciplinary action. Contact us today by calling (512) 515-9518 or contacting us online. We can analyze the circumstances that led to the complaint against you and determine the right legal strategy for you.