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Open Government Advocacy Project:
How to get a tenured teacher fired
 

Issue Detail:

 
An acquaintance of mine has been working on getting a tenured school teacher disciplined in light of a) her third drunk driving conviction, which netted her a 180 jail term, b) information that she was at least once removed from her classroom for being intoxicated while on the job. My acquaintance wrote to his representative in the General Assembly to learn the procedure for getting the teacher disciplined and the Assembly representative, in turn, asked the Office of Legislative Services (OLS) to set forth the procedure in writing. The OLS's response indicates that there are two mechanisms that a citizen can employ to bring formal action against a tenured teacher: a) seeking dismissal under N.J.S.A. 18A:6-10, and b) pursuing suspension or revocation of the teacher's teaching certificate pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:9-17.6(a)(8). I believe that this information from OLS, set forth below, might be of interest to members of the NJLP as well as the general public. John Paff Somerset, New Jersey --- OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE SERVICES PO BOX 068 TRENTON, NJ 08625 609-292-4625 May 15, 2009 Dear Assemblywoman: This letter is in response to the question raised by one of your constituents on the mechanisms available to terminate the employment of a teacher who has been convicted of driving under the influence. According to the constituent, the teacher has also engaged in questionable conduct in the district. In light of the fact that the constituent's letter indicates that this teacher has been employed in the district for a number of years, the teacher would have tenure. A school district employee who has tenure may be dismissed for inefficiency, incapacity, unbecoming conduct, or other just cause only after a hearing before the Commissioner of Education following the filing of written charges signed by the person making the charges (N.J.S.A.18A:6-10). While in most cases tenure charges are filed by the board of education, under the statute the charges may be filed by a person other than a member of the board. The charges are filed with the secretary of the board of education and a written statement of evidence to support the charge must also be presented to the board. The board of education must provide the employee with a copy of the charge and the statement of evidence, and the employee is afforded an opportunity to submit his written statement of position and a statement of evidence. If the board of education then determines that there is sufficient evidence to support the charge and that the charge is sufficient to warrant dismissal, the hoard of education forwards the charge to the commissioner (N.J.S.A.18A:6-11). Upon the certification of the charge to the commissioner, the board may suspend the employee with or without pay. The commissioner then examines the charge and the certifications and if he determines that the charge is sufficient to warrant dismissal, the commissioner refers the case to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for a full hearing (N.J.S.A.18A:6-16). The final determination on the tenure charges is made by the commissioner (N.J.S.A.18A:6-25; N.J.A.C.6A:3-1.14). In addition to the filing of tenure charges as described above, the board of education or an individual may pursue the suspension or revocation of the teaching certificate of a school district employee. Under State Board of Education regulations at N.J.A.C.6A:9-17.4, the chief school administrator of a school district is required to notify the State Board of Examiners if he becomes aware that a certificate holder has been convicted of a crime or criminal offense while in the school district's employ. State Board of Education regulations as N.J.A.C.6A:9-17.6(a)8 authorize any individual to, file a petition with the State Board of Examiners seeking the revocation or suspension of a certificate holder's certificate. The regulations further delineate the process to be followed when such action is initiated. I hope this information is helpful. Please feel free to contact me if you require anything further in this regard. Sincerely, /s/ Kathleen Fazzari Section Chief

 

Documents:

 


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