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Teacher Discipline Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What type of complaints against teachers, administrators, or other certified school personnel can I file with the Education Department?

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. 

2. Should I first file my complaint at the local level, e.g., school principal or superintendent of schools, before filing with the State?

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.

3. Can I file a complaint against a teacher who is employed in a private school?

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.  

4. Can I file a complaint against a teaching assistant or teacher's aide?

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.

5. If I file a complaint how will I know if it has been received?

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.

6. At the conclusion of the investigation of my complaint, what happens next?

If the investigation fails to support sufficient evidence to proceed, the case will be closed with no further action taken. 

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.

7. Will I be required to testify at an administrative hearing if my complaint goes that far?

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.

8. What types of penalties can be imposed against a certificate holder following an administrative 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.