Investigations of teachers and school administrators by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) has increased significantly since the mid ‘90s. Greater public awareness about sexual assault as a result of heightened publicity, the internet and “me too” has placed all teachers and school administrators under greater scrutiny. The CTC is now laser focused on student safety and school districts have tightened the written reporting requirements for board superintendents with failure to report misconduct now considered “unprofessional conduct” by the Commission.
All that is required for the CTC to initiate an investigation is a complaint lodged by an individual against a teacher or administrator with an allegation of misconduct, sexual misconduct or criminal activity. School districts are required to report any misconduct to the CTC and many err on the side of caution if a teacher is refused reemployment by a school due to allegations of misconduct. Criminal charges and convictions can also trigger automatic credential suspension and mandatory credential revocation.
Why Hire A Lawyer to Represent You When Under Investigation?
A credentialed teacher or administrator under investigation by the California Committee of Credentials should carefully consider how serious their situation is under these circumstances. As a professional, your livelihood, career and professional reputation are all at risk if you lose your teaching credential. Your prospective employment prospects, professional relationships and networks and even your ability to work with children and young people in the future are all in jeopardy if this happens.
More importantly, while you might assume that you can easily self-represent before the Committee on Credentialing and articulate your case for your teaching license, this is a very dangerous path. In licensing cases involving teachers, the Committee’s standard for probable cause is low. A written complaint, in fact, can often be sufficient for probably cause to be established from the Committee’s perspective. The Committee is really not looking to really “investigate” your case but is actually more concerned with determining if they can corroborate the allegations against you. On the other hand, the minute you hire a lawyer, an actual investigation will be triggered, allowing you to identify and provide the evidence necessary to support your case for licensure.
Even if you believe you have a defensible position or that the complainant’s allegations are “untrue”, you should never try to convince the Committee on Credentialing on your own without representation. If you need to deny allegations, you need informed legal advice about a strategy to build your case and convince the Committee why your license should be reinstated.
There are 5 important reasons to consider bringing on the expertise of an experienced licensing lawyer if you are a California teacher accused of misconduct or are otherwise under investigation by the CTC:
- The need to carefully respond to the LOI letter
- The need for a strong legal strategy and detailed preparation of evidentiary materials which will support your case
- Preparing your responses to Committee questions ahead of the hearing
- Drafting a closing statement to the Committee
- Determining how you will respond to the Committee’s disciplinary recommendation
If you are a California teacher or administrator who has received notice that the CTC and Committee of Credentials is investigating you, you should contact the Law Offices of Lucy McAllister immediately. We can review your specific legal issues and describe our extensive experience working with other clients in the teaching professions who have faced similar circumstances.
The Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister have successfully represented many California teaching professionals and we are experienced in handling all types of licensing accusations and licensing cases. In addition, our expertise in managing criminal cases enables us to address any credential holder who has criminal charges or convictions at issue in their case. Let us help you protect your professional credentials, reputation, and your livelihood.
For additional information or to schedule a consultation on a professional licensing issue, please contact our law offices today at (877) 280-9944.