At its Nov. 1, meeting the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) State Board of Examiners ordered the revocation of a teacher’s certificates, which included Teacher of Elementary School K-8, Teacher of Students with Disabilities, and Teacher of Spanish, among others.
After information was received by the Ocean County prosecutor’s office and the Office of Student Protection, the State Board of Examiners was advised that the teacher had entered into a pre-trial intervention (PTI) program related to a fourth-degree charge of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.
It is alleged that the teacher jumped on the back of a police officer who was attempting an arrest.
After multiple attempts to serve the teacher with an order to show cause as to why her certificates should not be revoked – and with no response – the Board of Examiners sent a notice of hearing which explained that her failure to respond would result in the facts of the matter being deemed admitted as is permitted by N.J.A.C. 6A:9B-4.6(c).
The board may revoke or suspend the certification of any certificate holder on the basis of demonstrated inefficiency, incapacity, conduct unbecoming a teacher or other just cause under N.J.A.C. 6A:9B-4.4.
Citing Tenure of Sammons, 1972, S.L.D. 302, 321, the board held that the teacher’s actions clearly demonstrated conduct unbecoming. The board held that “Teachers…are professional employees to whom the people have entrusted the care and custody of…school children. This heavy duty requires a degree of self-restraint and controlled behavior rarely requisite to other types of employment.”
Additionally, the board reaffirmed the longstanding school law concept that one incident can lead to certificate revocation, if sufficiently flagrant, citing Redcay v. State Bd. of Educ. 130 N.J.L. 369, 371 (1943). The board found the teacher’s actions to be sufficiently flagrant and ordered her to permanently surrender the certificates within 30 days of its order.
For more information on this matter, board members may wish to consult with their board attorney or the NJSBA Legal Department by calling (609) 278-5254.