Does anyone know how background checks work for teachers?
My boyfriend has a lifetime teaching certificate from Texas. He loves teaching and desperately wants to go back, but isn't sure if he can. Unfortunately several years ago he became involved in drugs and was arrested. (None of this occurred on school grounds) He accepted something called "Deferred adjudication" which basically means he was never officially convicted of anything because he successfully completed rehab, community service, and probation. He has been clean ever since, and this is his only run in with the law. Apparently he can have his record sealed - but not from public employment (teaching!)
What are his options, should he simply give up? Would most background searches find this? If it did, would recruiters simply discard him? Other than this blemish he has a great track record. He taught inner city school children, is bilingual, and taught both math and science.
Despite those that may pass judgment I think it is very sad if this eliminates his ability to teach. Isn't making mistakes and bouncing back part of the learning process? As a side note in my research I found out that someone with a "Deferred adjudication" due to an assault can have it expunged (eliminated) from their record (thereby a lesser offense than drug use and should be able to teach afterward). That makes zero sense to me...
I was a police officer and switched to teaching high school so I can offer some in depth information about criminal records in Texas. Before I can give you any real information you need to clarify a few things in your post.
You say he was arrested "several years ago", the amount of time does make a big difference in regards to several aspects.
Also "involved in drugs and arrested" is very broad and makes allot of difference. Did he get caught smoking pot on his back porch or was he caught driving while under the influence and arrested in possession of crack cocaine, meth, pcp, ETC. Also how much was he in possession of at the time of arrest.
Deferred adjudication in Texas also depends on the time since the offense. The other thing you must consider is what to tell the school district background check. Normally when a business wants to do a background check they are limited to public record. This means if you had something expunged that it will not show up.
However when you apply to a public school they ask you on their forms if you have ever been arrested and if so what are the details of the arrest. Even if you expunge it they will find out about it when they run a CCH and view you as being dishonest by not telling them upfront.
When you sign the background check forms your giving them consent to run a CCH (complete criminal history) and view ALL of your records. This will allow them to see everything from a arrest even if charges were dropped, juvenile records, and anything that was deferred or "expunged".
Allot of it is going to depend on the time since his arrest and what was "nature" of the drug offense. The fact that he teaches science, math and is bilingual is a big plus.
I agree that allot of people make mistakes and that it shouldn't cost them for the rest of their life. I saw this allot when I was a correctional officer before I was a police officer.
I remember we had one guy in his 40s in for 6 months on cocaine possession that had been a college math professor. He had a PHD in mathematics and was an unbelievable teacher. He made the mistake of trying cocaine once at party with some other professors and got hooked. He got arrested for possession and none of the schools would risk employing him .
He was the reason I was able to pass college math I worked the night shift and went to college during the day (not much time for sleep). He would sit there at night and walk me though my math and explain things far more clearly than any of my professors.
But sadly we have become a "no common sense/someone ALWAYS has to take the blame society". This means that if a principal gives him a second chance and hires him knowing about the drug conviction and down the road there is a issue with him drug related or not, the parents are going to be out for blood and the principal or administrator's job and career will seriously harmed if not totally ruined.
And with the amount of risk involved can you really blame them for not wanting to taking a chance on someone ruing their career when there are so many other qualified teachers with no criminal history for them to choose from.
But as I said it depends on allot of factors, time since arrest, nature of the arrest, how many years he has been a teacher, can he get letters of recommendation from his past employer and peers?
Thanks for the info! It is difficult to talk about specifics with him because it is a sore subject obviously. Here's what I know:
1) It was methamphetamine
2) It was a small amount (not enough to claim distribution)
3) It was not ever found or used in the school, he was never high while teaching
4) It was found in his car being pulled over for a routine stop, he was not under the influence at the time
5) He does have recommendations from former teachers/administrators, and always had top notch performance reviews
6) I believe it is about 3 years ago that he finished probation, longer ago since the infraction
7) He was a teacher for almost ten years
I completely agree it is a risk. I am in the medical field myself and know of the high failure rate. But I completely disagree with the notion he is forever "unfit" to teach. I've had terrible teachers with likely very clean pasts. I wish there were just some system where he would be randomly (or regularly) drug tested to continually prove he is clean and fit to teach. In my opinion it is crazy we allow former illegal drug abusers become president (Obama, Bush, Clinton) but won't allow them to teach.
Have you heard of anything about "certificate of disability" being issued or given which DOES cover up this history from both the public and private sector?
Any suggestions on if he can't teach - what he can do with a teaching degree? (Hopefully still involving kids, and something that provides a livable wage)
I'm sure he's a wonderful teacher. Sure, we all make mistakes in our lives. The bottom line is, if you're the one hiring and it comes down to two equally qualified and experienced candidates (your boyfriend and another candidate with the same certs/years experience) the principal is going to go with the one without the criminal history. It all comes down to the least risk for the school. Sadly, with the way people are these days they would be quick to hang the principal and your boyfriend if there was ever a problem (say, a parent didn't agree with a grade he gave) and this game out too.
The life of any educator is carefully checked and it will appear on his background check, even through he wasn't convicted,but was given other options. He should be honest on his applicantion and understand what that institution's position is on hiring him.
Okay I am about to get my masters to become a teacher and future principal in tx... I have a Class A misdemeanor assault bodily injury charge that I was convicted of...But it was 6 years ago...Do you think that this will effect me getting this job...
they will do a prelim criminal check on you and let you know what your status is for receiving a certification or for teaching with a criminal record. It costs money but a lot cheaper then chosing a career path you will not be able to work in.