Educator Conduct FAQs

ODE's Office of Professional Conduct investigates allegations involving criminal convictions or conduct unbecoming the teaching profession and, if warranted, pursues disciplinary or remedial action against an educator’s credentials or application for credentials.

General Questions

Disciplinary Process


General Questions

    For how long is a BCII criminal background check valid?

    A Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCII) criminal background check remains valid for one year after the date the report was completed.

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    Do I have to indicate an OMVI or DUI conviction on my application?

    A conviction for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OMVI) or driving under the influence (DUI) is a traffic offense and therefore does not have to be reported on an application.

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    Do I only have to report recent convictions?

    The application asks whether an applicant has EVER been convicted of an offense and sets no time limit as to the age of the offense. Criminal background checks sometimes contain information about arrests and convictions that are 20 or more years old. Convictions do not just "drop off" of a person's record or disappear after a period of time. The Office of Professional Conduct investigates criminal records regardless of the length of time since the offense.

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    How do I get certified copies of my court records?

    Certified records or records that are stamped by the clerk of court as being authentic, may be obtained by contacting the Clerk of Courts in the court which rendered the conviction.

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    Do I have to report a conviction if it does not have anything to do with children, drugs or sex offenses?

    All convictions must be reported regardless of the nature of the conviction. Note that the question reads "any" misdemeanor other than traffic offenses and "any" felony.

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    How do I answer the conviction question if I have had my conviction expunged?

    It is permissible to answer "no" to the question of whether you have ever been convicted but you must still answer "yes" to the question of whether you have ever had a conviction sealed or expunged. You must also provide an explanation even though the conviction was expunged.

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    What if I pled "no contest"?

    A pleading of "no contest" results in a finding of guilty and a conviction by the court. Therefore, an individual must answer "yes" to the question of whether he/she has ever been convicted.

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    If I have a letter from BCII stating that I have no criminal record, does that mean I can answer "no" to the question of whether I have a conviction even though I know I have been convicted?

    BCII sometimes issues a letter stating the individual has "no disqualifying record." However, that refers to having no conviction that by law would prevent a school district from hiring the individual. That letter in no way fully addresses the question of whether you have EVER been convicted.

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    What does "minor misdemeanor" mean?

    A minor misdemeanor is a level of a criminal offense. Other examples of offense levels include first degree misdemeanor and third degree felony.

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    What are unemployable offenses? What does unemployable mean?

    ORC 3319.39 says that no board of education of a school district, no governing board of an educational service center, and no governing authority of a chartered nonpublic school shall employ a person as a person responsible for the care, custody or control of a child is the person has previously been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any of the offenses listed.

    Criminal Offenses Listed in Ohio Revised Code §3319.39(“Unemployable Offenses”)

    Homicide and Assault

    2903.01 - Aggravated murder
    2903.02 - Murder
    2903.03 - Voluntary manslaughter
    2903.04 - Involuntary manslaughter
    2903.11 - Felonious assault
    2903.12 - Aggravated assault
    2903.13 - Assault
    2903.16 - Not providing for impaired person
    2903.21 - Aggravated menacing
    2903.34 - Patient abuse; neglect

    Kidnapping and extortion

    2905.01 - Kidnapping
    2905.02 - Abduction
    2905.05 - Criminal child enticement

    Sex offenses

    2907.02 - Rape
    2907.03 - Sexual battery
    2907.04 - Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor
    2907.05 - Gross sexual imposition
    2907.06 - Sexual imposition
    2907.07 - Importuning
    2907.08 - Voyeurism
    2907.09 - Public indecency
    2907.21 - Compelling prostitution
    2907.22 - Promoting prostitution
    2907.23 - Procuring
    2907.25 - Prostitution
    2907.31 - Disseminating matter harmful to a juvenile
    2907.32 - Pandering obscenity
    2907.321 - Pandering obscenity involving a minor
    2907.322 - Pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor
    2907.323 - Illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material of performance

    Robbery, burglary, trespassing and safecracking

    2911.01 - Aggravated robbery
    2911.02 - Robbery
    2911.11 - Aggravated burglary
    2911.12 - Burglary

    Crimes against family

    2919.12 - Unlawful abortion
    2919.22 - Endangering children
    2919.24 - Contributing to unruliness or delinquency of a child
    2919.25 - Domestic violence

    Conspiracy, attempt and complicity; weapons control; corrupt

    2923.12 - CCW
    2923.13 - Having weapon while under disability
    2923.161 - Improperly discharging firearm at or in habitation; school related offenses

    Drug offenses

    2925.02 - Corrupting another with drugs
    2925.03 - Trafficking in drugs
    2925.04 - Illegal manufacture of drugs or cultivation of marijuana
    2925.05 - Funding of drug or marijuana trafficking
    2925.06 - Illegal administration or distribution of anabolic steroids
    2925.11 - Possession of drugs – any violation that is not a minor drug possession offense

    Labeling of hazardous substances

    3716.11 - Placing harmful objects in food/confection

    Former criminal statutes (pre 07/01/1996)

    2905.04 - Child stealing (before 07/01/96)
    2919.23 - Interference of custody (if a violation of this statute would have been a violation of section 2905.04 as it existed prior to 07/01/1996 had the violation been committed prior to that date)
    2907.12 - Felonious sexual penetration (former section)

    Reference to R.C. 3319.31

    No board and no governing authority of a chartered nonpublic school shall employ a teacher who previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any of the offenses listed in section 3319.31 of the Revised Code.

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    What is a Voluntary Surrender?

    When a licensed/certified educator voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently agrees in writing to permanently give up a license or certificate and gives up all rights to hold a position which requires a license or certificate issued by the state board.  OAC 3301-73-22(B)

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    What is a Consent Agreement?

    (ORC 3319.311(D) – a contract between an educator/pre-service educator who is subject to discipline under ORC 3319.31 and the SBOE. The purpose of a consent agreement is to formulate a mutually agreeable disposition of a disciplinary matter without going through a formal administrative hearing (link to hearing brochure). The consent agreement establishes the terms and conditions upon which the educator/pre-service educator’s disciplinary matter will be resolved.The terms may include periodic reports form the employing school district regarding professional conduct of an educator, completion of continuing education classes, random drug screenings, community service or a period of time that the license is suspended. For specific terms of a consent agreement see OAC 3301-73-23(A)

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    What is disciplinary action?

    ORC 3319.31 grants the state board of education authority to deny an application for a teaching license or to suspend, limit or revoke an existing teaching license. The grounds for the State Board of Education to pursue disciplinary action are listed in 3319.31. There are several types of disciplinary actions that the SBOE can pursue to eliminate unprofessional conduct from the teaching profession. The Board can issue a warning letter, a letter of reprimand/admonishment, negotiate a consent agreement or initiate formal disciplinary proceedings. The disciplinary action pursued is based upon the nature of the allegations/criminal conviction and the information gathered during an investigation.

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    What is the Office of Professional Conduct (OPC) hearing process?

    If the nature of the allegation or criminal conviction warrant formal disciplinary proceedings or if a consent agreement cannot be reached, OPC recommends to the state board of education that it deny an educator/pre-service educator’s application, or suspend, revoke or limit and educator’s license. To initiate a formal disciplinary action OPC on behalf of the state superintendent of instruction sends a letter to the educator notifying him/her of the SBOE’s intent to deny the application or to suspend, limit or revoke the educator’s license or certificate. Pursuant to ORC Chapter 119, the educator may request an administrative hearing within 30 days from the date the letter of intent was mailed to the educator (via certified mail.)  Rules governing filings with regard to administrative hearings are contained in OAC 3301-73-06(A)-(K).

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    What is a withdraw?

    When a sponsoring school district withdraws its endorsement of an applicant, OPC removes the application from any further consideration.

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    Is the district aware of OPC involvement?

    Current and former employing school districts may be contacted during the course of an investigation, however all information that is learned by OPC throughout the entirety of the investigation will remain confidential. This information will only be known by OPC, the individual, and the source of information. Any disciplinary action taken pursuant to the investigation is not confidential.

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    What if I do not report a conviction on my application?

    Falsification is the reporting of information to OPC that is not true and meant to deceive OPC from knowing/learning the truth. This can be an omission of fact or a statement that has no truth. Falsification on an application can result in disciplinary action on the certificate/license.

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    Why are expunged/sealed records available to ODE?

    ODE has statutory authority to ask questions about sealed and expunged records in order to determine whether the conviction bears a direct and substantial relationship to the teaching profession.  ORC 3319.31 and 2953.33(B)

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    What if I have been previously revoked/denied? How do I reapply?

    Unless otherwise specified in a prior board resolution, a respondent may apply for a new license at any time. If a respondent requests to be licensed by the state board after any disciplinary action is taken by any professional licensing entity, respondent shall provide evidence that a change in circumstance exists that would permit a license. The superintendent will weigh the evidence submitted to establish a change in circumstance against the need of the state board to protect the integrity of the profession, ensure the safety and welfare of the students and the school community.  OAC 3301-73-24.

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    What is a broken contract?

    A teacher may terminate a contract any time between the end of the school year session and July 10th by giving five days’ written notice to the employing school board. A teacher shall not terminate a contract before the end of the school year or after July 10th without the consent of the board of education. If a teacher terminates a contract in any manner other than as provided for above, the employing school board may file a complaint with the State Board of Education. After an investigation by the State Board of Education, the license of the teacher who terminated their contract may be suspended for not more than one year.  ORC 3319.15 

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    What is the proficiency test misconduct that OPC would investigate?

    OPC will investigate allegations that a teacher assisted a student in cheating on a proficiency test in any way, including revealing any specific question that the teacher knows is part of the proficiency test. If, after the investigation, OPC finds that the licensed teacher has aided a student in cheating on the proficiency test in any way, the teacher’s license shall be suspended for one year. Helping a student to cheat on a proficiency exam in any way is also grounds for contract termination.  ORC 3319.151

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    How do I make a complaint about a teacher?

    A formal, written complaint should be forwarded to the school district; follow-up with the district, and go up the chain of command – principal, superintendent, school board.

    If all the options have not worked, the parent can send the complaint with specific details in writing to our office. OPC will then review the information to determine if we will open a case and investigate the allegations based our grounds for disciplinary action ORC 3319.31

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    How long does it take for OPC to receive any relevant records (e.g. court records, police records)?

    With OPC receiving records it can take an average of a few weeks to a couple of months depending on the sources from where the records are requested. For a more timely turn around it is advised for the respondent to request their own court and police records in person.

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    What is available for public records requests?

    Records kept by any public office, including, but not limited to, state, county, city, village, township, and school district units, and records pertaining to the delivery of educational services by an alternative school in Ohio kept by a nonprofit or for profit entity operating such alternative school pursuant to 3313.533 of the Revised Code. ORC 149.43  For State Board and Department of Education purposes, the following are public records: consent agreement; letter of admonishment; notice of opportunity of administrative hearing; exhibits offered into evidence in an administrative hearing; administrative hearing transcript; superintendent’s proposed resolution; report and recommendation of a hearing officer; objections to the hearing officer’s report and recommendation; state board’s final resolution.  All other information obtained in the course of an investigation, including but not limited to all offers of settlement, proposals of adjustment and proposed stipulations not agreed to are not public records and shall remain confidential.  OAC 3301-73-04(A) – (G)

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Disciplinary Process

    What legal authority does the State Board have to take disciplinary action?

    Ohio Revised Code §3319.31 grants the State Board of Education authority to deny an educator’s application for a teaching license or to suspend, limit or revoke an educator’s existing teaching license.

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    What are the grounds for the State Board to pursue disciplinary action?

    The grounds for the State Board of Education to pursue disciplinary action are listed in Ohio Revised Code §3319.31. The State Board of Education can pursue a disciplinary action if a licensed educator or an applicant seeking licensure has engaged in conduct unbecoming the teaching profession or has pled guilty to or been convicted of any felony offense, misdemeanor sex offense, violent offense, theft offense or drug abuse offense. (Ohio Revised Code §3319.31) In addition, the State Board can pursue disciplinary action if an educator has terminated his/her teaching contract in violation of Ohio Revised Code §3319.15 or has engaged in a proficiency test violation (Ohio Revised Code §3319.151).

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    What disciplinary actions can the State Board take?

    There are several types of disciplinary actions the SBOE can pursue to eliminate unprofessional conduct from the teaching profession:

    Letter of Admonishment: A letter detailing an educator’s misconduct and formally admonishing the educator that the behavior constitutes conduct unbecoming the teaching profession. A letter of admonishment is a public record and remains a part of the educator’s disciplinary record.

    Consent Agreement: A formal settlement agreement between an educator and the State Board of Education. Consent Agreements are designed to address specific educator conduct and to establish an educator’s efforts at rehabilitation. Terms and conditions of consent agreements vary depending on the conduct being addressed, but can include a suspension of an educator’s license. A Consent Agreement is a public record and remains a part of the educator’s disciplinary file.

    Suspension: A formal disciplinary action that suspends an educator’s license for a specified period of time, not to exceed five years. During the suspension period, an educator is prohibited from performing any educational activities or duties that require licensure through the Ohio Department of Education. After the suspension period, the license is reactivated if the educator can demonstrate compliance with any educational requirements and other conditions contained in the State Board’s order, and the license’s original expiration date did not occur during the suspension period. A license suspension is a public record and remains a part of the educator’s disciplinary file.

    Limitation: A formal disciplinary action that imposes limitations on an educator’s license. The State Board can limit the type of educational activities an educator can perform or where an educator can perform educational activities. A license limitation is a public record and remains a part of the educator’s disciplinary file.

    Revocation: A formal disciplinary action that revokes an educator’s license. If an educator’s license is revoked, the State Board may establish a minimum period of time before an educator  can apply for a new license or the State Board may order an educator be permanently ineligible to apply for any license issued by the State Board. An action revoking an educator’s license is a public record and remains part of the educator’s disciplinary file.

    Denial of Application: A formal disciplinary action that denies an educator’s application for licensure. If an educator’s application for licensure is denied, the State Board may establish a minimum period of time before an educator can apply for a license. The State Board may also order an educator be permanently ineligible to apply for any license issued by the State Board. An action denying an educator’s license is a public record and remains part of the educator’s disciplinary file.

    Which disciplinary action the State Board pursues is based upon the nature of the allegations and/or criminal conviction and the information gathered during an investigation.

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    How does the State Board initiate a formal disciplinary action?

    If the State Board intends to suspend, limit or revoke an educator’s license or to deny an educator’s application for licensure, the State Board must given written notice of its intended action to the educator in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Ohio Revised Code.

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    Can an educator challenge a formal disciplinary action by the State Board?

    An educator, notified of the State Board’s intended disciplinary action to deny, suspend, limit or revoke a license, is afforded the right to an administrative hearing to challenge such an action. A request for an administrative hearing must be submitted in writing and received by the Ohio Department of Education within 30 days from the mailing of the notice regarding the intended disciplinary action.

    All administrative hearings are held in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Ohio Revised Code. Detailed information regarding the administrative hearing process is contained in the  “Overview of the Administrative Hearing Process.”

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    What if an educator does not request an administrative hearing?

    If an administrative hearing is not requested by an educator, the State Board may, in the educator’s absence and upon consideration of the matter, determine whether or not to deny an educator’s application and/or to suspend, limit or revoke the educator’s license.

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    What happens after an administrative hearing?

    Within 30 calendar days following the close of the evidentiary record of an administrative hearing, the hearing officer submits a written report setting forth a summary of the proceedings, proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law and a recommendation of the action to be taken by the State Board (i.e. no disciplinary action, denial of a license or suspension, limitation or revocation of a license). The Report and Recommendation is submitted to the Department of Education and the Department forwards a copy of the report to the educator.

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    What if the educator disagrees with the Hearing Officer’s Report and Recommendation?

    The educator may file written objections within 10 days of receipt of the hearing officer’s Report and Recommendation. Objections must be filed in accordance with Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3301-73-06.

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    Does the State Board of Education review the Hearing Officer’s Report and Recommendation?

    The State Board considers the hearing officer’s Report and Recommendation and any objections filed at the next scheduled State Board meeting after the time for filing objections has passed. The State Board may act upon the report and recommendation or remand the matter to the hearing officer for further proceedings. The State Board can approve, modify or reject the hearing officer’s Report and Recommendation regarding disciplinary action.

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    How does the State Board determine whether to take a disciplinary action?

    The State Board of Education votes on what, if any, disciplinary action it will impose after considering the hearing officer’s Report and Recommendation and any timely filed objections. The State Board adopts a written Resolution setting forth the State Board’s order regarding any disciplinary action imposed pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 3319.31, 3319.15 or 3319.151.

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    What if an educator disagrees with the State Board’s order regarding a disciplinary action?

    The educator has the right to appeal the State Board’s disciplinary action by filing a notice of appeal with the Department of Education and the court of common pleas in his/her county of residence or county in which the educator’s business is located. The written appeal must be filed with the appropriate court of common pleas within 15 days of the State Board’s resolution being mailed to the educator.

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    Can an educator apply for licensure after a prior disciplinary action?

    Unless the State Board specifically orders an educator ineligible to apply for licensure after imposing a disciplinary action, an educator may apply for a new license. Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3301-73-24 governs the process regarding a person applying for a license after a prior disciplinary action. If an educator requests to be licensed by the State Board after any disciplinary action is taken by any professional licensing entity, the educator must provide evidence showing a change in circumstance exists which makes licensure by the State Board appropriate. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction will weigh the evidence submitted to establish a change in circumstance against the need of the State Board to protect the integrity of the teaching profession and to ensure the safety and welfare of the students and the school community.

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Last Modified: 5/9/2013 12:20:33 PM