A study conducted by the University of Miami found that most teachers who are fired are not dismissed for poor teaching skills. Instead, most teachers are fired for participation in unprofessional or illegal activities. While some dismissed teachers may have certainly deserved their fate, many could have been fired over false allegations. Florida establishes reasons of just cause that set grounds for the termination of teachers. However, there has to be absolute evidence to justify the firing.
Immorality is one of the established grounds for just cause termination. Examples of immoral behavior would be allowing a student to cheat on a test or engaging in the use of alcohol at a school function. Many teachers have been found guilty of improper acts with their underage students resulting in criminal charges.
Conviction of a crime
Any criminal charge resulting in a conviction would be grounds for termination of employment under just cause. In fact, depending on the severity of the crime, the school board could suspend you from teaching for even being charged with a serious crime. Certainly, your job could be reinstated if the charges were found to be false. Teacher license defense is especially important in these situations to protect your employment from false charges.
Misconduct in office
Grounds for this category of just cause can be a little subjective and require interpretation. However, any illegal act committed at school or any sexual act with a student would be considered misconduct in office and justification for termination.
The danger good teachers face
A false accusation can ruin a professional teacher’s career very quickly. All it takes is an angry parent or student to make a bogus claim that a teacher committed an immoral or illegal act for revenge. While that sounds outrageous, it happens every day. Good teachers deserve to be defended against such claims.
The key to avoiding a situation like this is to do everything you can to prevent such claims and defend your teacher license. Be mindful of your interactions with students at all times. Should you notice something out of the ordinary with a student, document the activity and report it to the school’s administration. This could come in handy should you ever be accused of a crime or inappropriate act you did not commit.