Teacher Discipline Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Generally, a complaint should be filed if you have information that a certified educator has been convicted of a crime or committed an act that raises a serious question as to his or to her moral character, or when you believe that the conduct of a teacher or administrator poses a threat to the welfare of a child or a school community. Complaints concerning incompetence, negligence, or dissatisfaction with teaching style or philosophy will typically not result in State action against certification. Those issues should be reported directly to your local school district.
We encourage you to file your complaint at the local level first since many complaints against certificate holders are satisfactorily resolved at this level with remedial action. This office, however, has the authority to initiate a separate investigation against a certificate holder.
You may file a complaint against a teacher who is employed in a non-public school if the teacher is certified. This office has the authority to investigate the conduct of certificate holders and refer the matter to the professional conduct officer for action when appropriate.
This office only has the authority to investigate individuals who hold or who are applicants for certification. Generally, teaching assistants are certified by the Education Department and teacher aides are not. Complaints against an uncertified individual should be directed to the school principal or to the superintendent of schools.
Receipt of your complaint will be acknowledged in writing. Thereafter, it will be assigned to an investigator, who may contact you to discuss your complaint in greater detail.
If the investigation fails to support sufficient evidence to proceed, the case will be closed with no further action taken. You will be advised in writing of the closure of the case.
If after investigation there is a sufficient basis to initiate action against the questioned certificate holder, a recommendation will be made to the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching to consider whether to proceed to a formal administrative hearing.
As part of the hearing process, evidence will be presented and testimony provided by witnesses and others to address whether the certificate holder lacks good moral character. The Department may ask you to testify under oath at the hearing.
The range of penalties includes the imposition of a fine, continuing education, certificate suspension, certificate revocation, and the denial to be issued a certificate in the case of an applicant.