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Can a criminal conviction prevent you from becoming a teacher?

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2020 | Criminal Defense

You may have worked to become an educator to fulfill a lifelong dream, or you may have done so because you have an inherent desire to help children. Whatever your reasoning for becoming a teacher, you must be cautious about the way you behave if you wish to work within a Pennsylvania school system.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, you must have what it considers to be good moral character to receive certification to teach within the state. Whether you must undergo a good moral character review depends on how you answer certain questions about your background that appear on the state’s Teacher Information Management System.

Background questions

On your road to becoming a teacher, expect to have to answer questions about whether you have ever been the subject of a child abuse or misconduct investigation of any kind. You should also plan on answering whether you have ever had a professional license of any kind revoked or suspended.

You must also answer questions about whether you have ever received a misdemeanor or felony conviction in Pennsylvania or anywhere else. Your answers to these and other questions may trigger a good moral character review.

The review

Answering yes to any of the background questions presented by the Department of Education does not necessarily mean you may not teach within the state. You may, however, have to under a good moral character review so the department may learn more about the nature of the conduct. The department also considers your response to the questionable conduct and whether you have made efforts to improve yourself in the time since.