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What happens when a school district accuses a teacher of cheating or plagiarism? Tips from a teacher defense lawyer

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2018

Teachers work hard and put many hours into educating our next generation. In addition to daily demands, there are always more certification classes, presentations, and meetings they have to attend. While teachers strive to do their best, mistakes can happen. What happens if a teacher is accused of cheating on a test? What can happen if a teacher is accused of plagiarism? Read on for possible disciplinary steps from the school district and department of education.

What happens if a teacher is accused of cheating?

Teachers must take certification exams, re-certification tests, endorsement tests, district training and so on. If a teacher uses outside help to achieve a passing score on any of the associated tests, they can be accused of cheating.

What happens if a teacher is accused of plagiarism?

Part of a teacher’s responsibility is to stay current by completing continuing education credits. Some of these classes require papers or presentations for completion credits. Failing to cite sources or using papers written by other teachers can lead to plagiarism accusations.

What can happen if I am facing teacher discipline for cheating or plagiarizing?

An investigation will occur first. While the district is investigating, they must continue to employ you until they finish it. That is so long as it is not within your 90-day probationary contract time frame. If you are accused of cheating or plagiarism while within your 90-day probation, they can ask you to leave with no reason for termination.

Department of Education (DOE) investigation – If an investigation is being conducted, it is likely that the district will notify the DOE. You may be saying, “even if they found there was no evidence I cheated or plagiarized, they still report it?” Yes, even if an investigation is finished and the district finds no offense has been committed, the DOE will likely be notified. Additionally, the DOE can open an investigation of its own into the allegations. This could put your teaching license at risk.

What if I just left my teaching position and went to another school or district?

If you are in the middle of a district investigation, it could stop that from moving forward. This would also stop the district from being able to reassign and then possibly fire you. However, even if you stop the district investigation, the district will still report the incident to the DOE, and the DOE can start the investigation process again. This can place a new teaching job at risk, especially if you did not tell the new school district you were under investigation.

I received a letter from the Department of Education (DOE) about an investigation. What happens now?

If you receive notification of investigation from your school district or the DOE, I strongly recommend hiring a lawyer who defends teachers. A great teacher defense lawyer will begin defending a teacher from the first notice of investigation. An experienced lawyer for teachers will begin documenting your side of the story immediately. They can communicate with the district and DOE on your behalf. Early intervention in the teacher investigation process can lead to a better outcome for a teacher accused of misconduct like cheating or plagiarism.

Don’t risk losing your teaching license. Call today for a free consultation with a lawyer for teachers.

Richard Asselta is an award-winning teacher defense lawyer. 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