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Conway Criminal Law Blog

When teachers are accused of crimes

With the multitude of schools across the United States, it is safe to say that not all schools in all districts in all states take the same approach if a teacher is accused of committing a crime. In South Carolina, for example, if a teacher is accused of committing a crime, they can potentially face a suspension of their teaching certificate based on a decision of the South Carolina State Board of Education.

The question is, how does the school district learn about the teacher’s arrest? In many cases, the Board of Education obtains the information from the district, some other states, grievances by other individuals, and the press. In South Carolina, over the last few years, there have been several cases of teachers who were called before the Board of Education and disciplined after a similar incident. A number of those teachers ended up being suspended until the criminal charge was settled.

The types of charges determined the severity of the discipline

How severe the discipline will be for the teacher who has been accused of a crime depends on the actual crime itself. For example, crimes of a sexual nature carry extreme discipline with them, as do violent crimes. Other crimes that are subject to discipline are crimes that are related to drugs and alcohol.

Many of the teachers’ suspensions are for one year. If a person is accused of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is not uncommon for that person to be placed on administrative leave after the school board learns about the teacher’s arrest. The main reason for the suspension in that type of case is that the board believes that the person may be a threat to the safety and well-being of the students.

The responsibility of the teacher

In South Carolina, it is the responsibility of the teacher to let their supervisor know if they have been arrested. However, the supervisor is not actually the person who takes any action against the teacher. That is in the hands of the superintendent of schools. The Board of Education of South Carolina has the power to deny, suspend, or revoke a teaching certificate as well as issuing a public rebuke.

There are many reasons why the board can take disciplinary action against a teacher who has been arrested, including incompetence, unprofessional conduct, cruelty, immorality, dishonesty, and sale or possession of narcotics, to name a few.

If you are an educator and have had a similar experience, the solid advice of a South Carolina criminal defense lawyer may prove invaluable to your case. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you to build an effective strategy and can offer extraordinary insight into the manner in which the state approaches that type of case.

The lawyer can help you to navigate the process and can advise you on the strengths and weaknesses of our case so that you can respond to the charges in a way that gives you an advantage and that will hopefully produce a positive outcome in your case.