Background check for teachers (Help!)

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Cara, Sep 15, 2010.

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  1. Cara

    Cara New Member

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    Sep 15, 2010

    Does anyone know how background checks work for teachers?

    My boyfriend has a lifetime teaching certificate from Texas. He loves teaching and desperately wants to go back, but isn't sure if he can. Unfortunately several years ago he became involved in drugs and was arrested. (None of this occurred on school grounds) He accepted something called "Deferred adjudication" which basically means he was never officially convicted of anything because he successfully completed rehab, community service, and probation. He has been clean ever since, and this is his only run in with the law. Apparently he can have his record sealed - but not from public employment (teaching!)

    What are his options, should he simply give up? Would most background searches find this? If it did, would recruiters simply discard him? Other than this blemish he has a great track record. He taught inner city school children, is bilingual, and taught both math and science.

    Despite those that may pass judgment I think it is very sad if this eliminates his ability to teach. Isn't making mistakes and bouncing back part of the learning process? As a side note in my research I found out that someone with a "Deferred adjudication" due to an assault can have it expunged (eliminated) from their record (thereby a lesser offense than drug use and should be able to teach afterward). That makes zero sense to me...

    Any help is greatly appreciated!
     
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  3. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I really don't know what his chances are, but I can tell you that the greater concern are his future students. As a parent, I would be horrified/infuriated, and not to mention up in arms if my daughter had a teacher who had ever had any problems with drugs. I had a brother who had, for a long time, dealt drugs, used drugs, got clean, and then always fell back to it, possibly even right before his heart attack this past February, when he died at age 48. This is probably not what you want to hear, but in my opinion, your boyfriend has no business in a career that involves children. Sorry. But there is bigger, pressing issue than your boyfriend's career, and that issue is the safety and well being of the students he would be serving. I understand completely about making mistakes and learning from them, but sometimes the consequences follow us for a long time, and sometimes those consequences mean being cut off from certain things.
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    So was he teaching at the time he was arrested for drugs?
     
  5. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Sep 15, 2010

    I agree.
     
  6. SunnyReader

    SunnyReader Companion

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    Sep 15, 2010

    I have to agree also. Sorry. Was he teaching at the time?
     
  7. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Sep 15, 2010

    Contact the state DoE and find out?
     
  8. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I agree. You'll never know until you ask. You say the Deferred Adjudication prevented a conviction so that might make a difference. Most applications ask if you have been convicted on any drug-related charges. The fact he completed his rehab program and has been clean since should also count in his favor.

    Will that be enough for the DoE to consider letting him return to teaching? Only one way to find out.
     
  9. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    Sep 16, 2010

    I am kind of surprised at the responses that said that he should not teach. Would you all say the same thing about a recovering alcoholic who had not had a drink for say, 10 years? In my mind, both are addictions and it sounds like the boyfriend has beaten his. If anything I would think he might be a good teacher for inner city because he understands what they are going through.
     
  10. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I see your point that he might relate better to the inner city students, being that he had a drug problem, but I still do not think he is suited to work with students. Would I say the same for someone who is a recovering alcoholic? I see your point that those two are addictions, but I think it depends on what legal problems that person might had, had. Drug users typically turn to illegal means to feed their addiction. I had a brother who used, so I know this first-hand. I also had another brother who was an alcoholic, or still is, rather, although he has not drank in probably 20 years. The second brother never did anything illegal (not that I am aware of) to feed his addiction. I know that with recovering alcoholics, a lot of them have to fight hard to stay sober (I was also in a long-term relationship with a man who was a recovering alcoholic), and a lot of them are triggered by stress. However, in my brother's case, he quit cold turkey and doesn't seem to struggle in the same way I saw my ex struggle, but if her were to pick up a drink today, he'd be done. I just have a serious problem when it comes to children being exposed to situations/persons who likely should not be around them. Again, if my daughter had a teacher who had a prior related to drugs, you bet I would go straight to the school board. I believe in forgiveness, and I do believe we can learn from our mistakes. I don't believe, however, that we can risk our children/students to certain situations/persons.
     
  11. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Sep 16, 2010

    I am surprised he still has a life-time license. In my state, your license can be revoked if convicted of a felony
     
  12. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    If he is not doing drugs and hasnt for awhile he may have a chance. They may ask to drug test him awhile. When I see teachers running off to smoke a cigarette or hitting bars after work or taking all kinds of Px meds I have to wonder how that is completely different. I would much rather my kid have a great teacher with somewhat of a past than some "clean" teacher that cannot get his/her point across.
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Having a prescription from a physician isn't really the same as abusing illegal drugs....
     
  14. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I know that some people doctor shop and some docs pass out pain pills like candy.
     
  15. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I wonder if he could agree to take a monthly drug test or something? I really don't know anything about this, but if he is clean and a good teacher, why not? How many teachers out there have done drugs or at least smoked pot? I bet there are hundreds of thousands. (I never have.) He just happened to get caught.

    I don't think it would bother me if my child had a teacher who did drugs but was now clean, as long as he/she is a good teacher.
     
  16. SunnyReader

    SunnyReader Companion

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    it sounds to me like he had a drug problem while teaching....I stand by the fact that he should not be teaching
     
  17. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Okay, according to my mom, in NJ, a ruling such as that tends to be wiped from the persons record after 3-5 years of no offenses
     
  18. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem. Abusing legal drugs is no less dangerous than abusing illegal drugs.
     
  19. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I have a friend who has smoked marijuana since before we met. He has never done anything illegal and is an extremely intelligent person. If he were inclined, he would make a great social studies or political science teacher in HS (in fact, his degree is in political science).

    He has raised a family, including two step-daughters. While he and I disagree completely on politics and religion, I absolutely would trust him with my kids or with a classroom full of kids.

    It's funny that, when discussing religion or politics, many members will say "Don't judge the many based on the actions of a few" or "Don't make broad, sweeping, generalized statements about any group", but then in this thread, several members have judged the person in question to be permanently unfit to teach because of mistakes made in the past.

    Remember, there was NO drug conviction, just a drug-related charge. IF that happened while he was a teacher, then I agree he should have lost his license at that time. However, since he HAS been clean and sober since then, I feel he has every right to apply for (or check on) reinstatement as a teacher. Maybe the DoE will tell him he is banned forever (in their state), but maybe not. Either way, it is a decision best left to the DoE and/or licensing agency of that state.
     
  20. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Agreed DP, btw I just read DP to my boy and we were both laughing our heads off, of course it was my delivery that did it.:woot:
     
  21. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    My daughter had a second grade teacher who was so high on prescription drugs that she would often stumble while walking to a student's desk. I'd much rather my kids have someone who was clean than someone who was doped up on something legal.

    If I had a say in the matter I would hire the guy but have him take monthly drug tests for three years or so.
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Perhaps I should have phrased it this way: Having a prescription isn't the same as abusing a prescription.
     
  23. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Clearly you are referring to the other thread in which you and I disagreed. Right, I do not believe in generalizing...When it comes to an issue such as this, drugs and addiction, it is widely known that addictions are hard to break, yet not impossible. I am thinking about the safety and well being of the students. It goes much deeper than "generalizing".
     
  24. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    oh well, people judge. It's pretty human. If we didn't we would have the name of God but we don't.

    Rules are rules. He should have had his teaching license revoked! Surprised he didn't!
     
  25. oppa637

    oppa637 Rookie

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    I believe deferred adjudication is considered a conviction in texas. Also, most applications will ask if he was under any probation but i'd still ask to make sure.
     
  26. SunnyReader

    SunnyReader Companion

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    After reading your original post, I was under the assumption that he was using while teaching. Since this was not the case, and he has cleaned up since then, I think he definitely deserves a 2nd chance.
     
  27. SunnyReader

    SunnyReader Companion

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    I would have him call the DOE. He wont have to give his name; just ask questions.
     
  28. cali*teacher

    cali*teacher Companion

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    Everybody deserves a second chance. I believe a person can be totally changed and delivered from drug, alcohol addictions, etc.
    Would I be horrified that my fourth grade son was in the classroom of a teacher who used to use drugs ten, fifteen, twenty years ago, but now totally clean? No. If the person had good character, a good teacher, genuinely cared about their students, and otherwise gifted at what they're doing. I guess in other words, this person was a completely changed individual from the inside out, and enough time and water had passed under the bridge for them to prove themselves. And I agree with Sue35, a person like that might be good in an inner city environment to be a "been there done that, don't go down that road" kind of influence.
    Who am I to judge someone's past. Should a person be punished the rest of their lives for youthful mistakes and their only option is to work at McDonald's the rest of their lives? I guess I've seen too many miracle stories at church and know how a life can be turned around in an instant. And for the record before it's thought to be so, I am not referring to myself, just people I know who have been literally transformed.
     
  29. Sam Aye M

    Sam Aye M Mr. Know-It-All

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    Here's a serious question, and maybe a way to look at it from a different POV. Even if he DOES have a lifetime credential, what school would want to hire him? Schools first and foremost, have to protect themselves. I am not saying that this individual is dangerous, or would do anything dangerous, but that is not the school's concern. Some of you said that he could be tested every month, etc... but why would a SD hire someone KNOWING that they would have to drug test a person, when they could just as easily hire someone who they don't have to drug test?

    I'm not going to pass judgement and say whether this person should or should not be allowed to teach, because I just don't know him enough to say. BUT, I will say that if I was in charge of hiring, and it came down to him and someone who never had a drug charge, or a drug problem, I would choose the person without the drug problem every time. Sure, it may be unfair, but I have a business to run, and if it comes down to him teaching or saving face for the school, I'm covering my own behind.
     
  30. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    If you look back at the original post, his legals problems with the drugs happened after he had been teaching, so we are not just talking about someone who made a mistake in his youth.
     
  31. cali*teacher

    cali*teacher Companion

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    Well, tell that to Paris Hilton, she's seems to be arrested every other month now days for drug related infractions, lol.
     
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