Can a criminal conviction prevent you from becoming a teacher?

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2020 | Criminal Defense

These days, parents place a good deal of trust in their children’s educators, and with good reason. Teachers often spend more time with children than the parents themselves, so it is important that the people who work in Pennsylvania’s schools are responsible individuals and solid role models. For this reason, the state mandates that anyone who becomes a teacher has “good moral character.” 

Just what does this mean, and how might the state assess whether you have good moral character? 

The good moral character process 

To secure a teaching certificate in Pennsylvania, you first need to answer a series of questions about yourself and your background. If you answer certain questions in such a manner that it raises questions about your character, you may need to take part in a good moral character review. 

The good moral character review 

Once you become the subject of a good moral character review, you should expect to have to furnish documentation and references to prove that you are, in fact, morally capable of holding a teaching position. During the review process, expect the powers that be to examine the situation that called your character into question in the first place. 

For example, the person or persons conducting the review are typically going to consider the nature of your conduct and your age at the time the conduct occurred before making any decisions. Your current attitude about the conduct is also likely going to come into play, as are any efforts you have taken since the conduct occurred to improve yourself or your situation. 

Following the good moral character review, you should receive notification in writing about whether you passed. If you did not, but you still wish to teach in Pennsylvania, you have 30 days from the date you received your denial to request a new hearing or reconsideration. Consulting with a legal professional may be a good idea at this point.