A DUI Can Mean Losing Your Teaching Job
A drunk driving charge can be a disaster for a school teacher who is convicted. The teacher may face immediate termination, non-renewal of contracts or loss of teacher certification. Teaching jobs can be lost after a DUI conviction for even a FIRST offense. Even an arrest for DUI, with nothing proven yet, is a red flag for any teaching professional, whether teaching in public school or private school. Any teaching professional charged with a DUI is recommended to seek professional legal help so they can learn how a DUI may impact their job situation.
Teachers are in such a hard spot that it is unlikely that they would be able to file a wrongful termination claim. The typical school superintendent or board of education handling the disciplinary action focuses on the teacher’s actions outside school being a negative reflection on the integrity of the school district. This type of blanket prohibition by a state board of education, or a local board of education will be determined by a court to being prudent about the safety and impressionability of young students.
It is also common for lobbies like MADD to launch a letter writing campaign directed at a convicted teacher to put pressure on school boards to fire teachers involved in DUI offenses.
Although a DUI is not an offense that requires an automatic period of ineligibility, in all practicality, schools can subject current teachers to the ineligibility provisions. Pennsylvania law states that nothing shall interfere with a school’s ability to make employment, discipline, or termination decisions.
Subsequently, the employee would then be seeking new employment. But a prospective teacher would therefore not be able to gain new employment at a school until the period of ineligibility ended. Additionally, teachers with a qualifying DUI would not be able to move to a new school district under any circumstances until the completion of their period of ineligibility.
Furthermore, Pennsylvania State Law requires a standardized form to be completed that indicates whether the school employee has been convicted of certain offenses. DUI is not one of the offenses required to be reported. However, each individual school district is still free to set their own policies regarding whether the DUI should be reported on their forms. These laws apply not only to teachers, but to secretaries, principals, coaches, janitors and cafeteria staff.
These laws could end the employment of many hard working people who pose no threat at all. If you are a teacher charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania, your career is at stake. When so much is on the line, you should turn to the best: The McShane Firm.