Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Information

Office of Professional Conduct

(P) 614-466-5638
(P) 877-644-6338 (toll free
(F) 614-995-3752
Educator.conduct@education.ohio.gov

25 S. Front Street, Mail Stop 104
Columbus, OH 43215

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Completing Applications for Licensure

General Questions

Disciplinary Process


Completing Applications for Licensure

    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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    Which criminal convictions do I need to report on my licensure application?

    All convictions (excluding minor traffic convictions) must be reported regardless of the nature of the conviction. Note that the question reads "any" criminal conviction, including misdemeanors and felonies.

    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. See the criminal records page for more information on how criminal convictions may affect licensure. 

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    What if I plead "no contest" to a criminal charge?

    Pleading of "no contest" results in a finding of guilty and a conviction by the court. Therefore, you must answer "yes" to the conviction question on the licensure application.

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

    You must disclose a conviction regardless of whether it has been sealed or expunged.

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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 is a "minor misdemeanor?"

    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 if I do not report a conviction on my application?

    Falsification is the reporting of information to OPC that is not true or is 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. Additionally, the reporting of information to OPC that is not true or meant to deceive OPC from knowing/learning the truth may subject the person to prosecution under Ohio Revised Code 2921.13(A)(5), which is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

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    Why are expunged/sealed records available to ODE?

    ODE has statutory authority to ask questions about sealed and expunged records. ORC 3319.292 and 3319.31

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    Can I reapply if my previous license was revoked or my application denied? been previously revoked/denied? How do I reapply?

    It depends. If the previous board resolution revoking or denying your license says you may not apply in the future, you cannot reapply for a license through the Department.

    Some resolutions state a specific amount of time that must pass or terms that must be completed prior to reapplication. You must wait the period of time and/or complete the terms before you reapply.

    If your license was revoked or your application was denied, but the resolution does not specify if or when you may reapply, you must 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.  Ohio Administrative Code 3301-73-24.

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General Questions

    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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    Is my district aware of an ongoing investigation?

    The district may be aware. Current and former employing school districts may be contacted during the course of an investigation. However, all information gathered during the investigation process will remain confidential. If the investigation escalates to disciplinary action, the disciplinary document will be a public record.

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    What is a broken contract?

    A broken contract occurs when a teacher leaves his or her teaching position or refuses to execute his teaching duties. Under Ohio Revised Code 3319.15 and 3314.103, a teacher may only terminate his or her teaching contract between the last day of school and July 10. Teachers may break their contracts at other times only with approval from the school board or school governing authority. If there is no approval, the educator may be referred to the Office of Professional Conduct. Breaking a contract could result in the educator’s license being suspended for up to one year. 

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    What is a testing violation?

    Testing violations are defined by Ohio Revised Code § 3319.151. The law applies to a variety of state tests. Please see the statute for a complete list. The Office of Professional conduct will investigate allegations of cheating; improper assistance; and violations in testing protocol, like writing down confidential test questions, discussing testing materials, etc. If, after the investigation, OPC finds that the licensed teacher has violated the statute or the Licensure Code, the state board shall take any action against the employee under § 3319.31 that it considers appropriate, based on the nature and extent of the violation. 

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    How long does the Office of Professional Conduct to receive documents during an investigation? records, police records)?

    There is no average amount of time it takes the Office of Professional Conduct to receive documents relevant to the investigation. The time varies based on how many documents are requested, entities who hold the records, and other outside factors, such as ongoing court actions. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for investigators to receive requested documents.

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    What documents are available through 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 Ohio Revised Code 3313.533 are generally available for a public records request. 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.  Ohio Revised Code 3319.311. Ohio Administrative Code 3301-73-04(A) – (G).

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Disciplinary Process

    What happens if I am recommended for formal discipline after the investigation?
    After a thorough review of the investigation, the case is either recommended for no action, where no formal disciplinary action is taken, or formal disciplinary action. Staff from the Office of Professional Conduct will contact you or your lawyer to discuss the recommended disciplinary action. Sometimes negotiation is possible. If you can reach an agreement with the Department, an agreement will be drafted for your review and signature. If you do not reach an agreement with the Department, you have the right to request an administrative hearing. The State Board can also initiate an administrative hearing if a settlement is not reached.
     

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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 Professional Conduct Procedures.

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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?

    Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3301-73-20 allows for the State Board to consider the hearing officer’s Report and Recommendation and any objections filed at the next possible regularly scheduled meeting, if the State Board's agenda permits, after the time for filing objections, a motion to strike, and a recommendation on the motion to strike 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 accept, reject, or modify 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 State Board may decide to accept, reject, or modify the hearing officer's report and recommendation. The state board shall memorialize the decision on the report and recommendation through a written resolution. OAC 3301-73-20. Some cases are directly reviewed by the State Board when no hearing was requested. Those decisions are also memorialized through a written resolution.

    In the event the State Board issues a resolution that the educator disagrees with, the educator has the right to appeal the decision to a court. The appeal must be filed in the educator's county of residence or the county where the agency is located. ORC 119.12

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Last Modified: 10/7/2021 9:35:17 AM