Teachers have one of the toughest and most important jobs. They educate our children and are tasked with shaping our future through the work they do. Teachers have their own teaching styles. Some may be considered strict and rule abiding, and others more fun and humorous. So, what can happen if a teacher makes a joke or is kidding around and a student complains? Can the teacher be fired?
Can a teacher be fired for making a joke?
Yes. Even if the joke or kidding statement was made without ill intent, anything said could be brought to administrations attention by either a parent or student. Administrations are under mandatory reporting guidelines. Depending on what was said, it could fall into a mandatory reporting category to the Department of Education. Even if the school district does not find probable cause to act against a teacher’s position in the district, the Department of Education can still charge the teacher.
Is there a remediation process before a school district fires a teacher?
Yes. That is taking into account the violation. If a school deems a teacher incompetent, the dismissal can be immediate despite probationary periods or contracts. If the violation does not fall under incompetence, there is a remediation process. Click here to read about the process of firing a teacher and the remediation process.
Can a teacher fight an accusation of inappropriate behavior like making a joke or kidding around?
Yes. There is a school based investigation that takes place. At that point the teacher will be allowed to submit either an oral or written statement. I always recommend that teachers facing any accusations of misconduct contact a lawyer that handles teacher issues. The reason being, anything written or said will be entered into a file that may potentially end up in the DOE’s hands. That document can be used against you at the state level if it escalates to an investigation at the DOE level. I craft written statements for teachers facing both school based and state based investigations. A professionally and strategically written rebuttal can make all the difference.Richard Asselta is an award-winning education lawyer with offices in both Florida and New Jersey. He is experienced in defending all types of teacher disciplinary and misconduct issues including district based and state department of education teacher disciplinary action. Call The Education Lawyers today for a free consultation. Protect your teaching license and professional future. (855) 338-5299