Can you teach in Florida with a criminal record?

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2023 | Teacher Defense, Teacher License Defense

Community members entrust their children to public and private school teachers for instruction and protection. For this reason, teachers often have a higher standard than others for holding their job title.

However, many people make mistakes or errors in judgment for which they pay their debt to society through fines, imprisonment or community service. When does a criminal record prevent a person from working as a teacher?

Requirements for public schools

Many felony offenses can disqualify a person from teaching in public schools. Title XLVIII, Chapter 1012 of the Florida Statutes, details a long list of felonies that preclude a person from gaining an educator certification or employment in a district school.

A substantial portion of the offenses deals with sexual misconduct with a minor or an individual of a vulnerable community, such as a disabled or elderly individual. Various violent felonies also disqualify a person, including manslaughter, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and kidnapping.

Cases of robbery, arson and theft are other noted violations, as are specific offenses a person commits on school grounds. These acts also include those that occurred in a state besides Florida.

Considerations for private schools

Private institutions do not necessarily obey state laws when hiring teachers. However, these schools usually have strict mandates to meet the expectations of the parents who pay the fees for their children to attend such facilities. However, the Florida Statutes do apply to private schools that participate in the state scholarship program and charter schools.

Complications arise for a current teacher who faces criminal charges. The Florida Board of Education may want to review and revoke the individual’s qualifications, even if the defendant takes a plea deal for lesser charges. In such cases, the teacher in question must prepare carefully to defend the privilege of retaining a teaching license.