To obtain a teaching license in South Carolina, a teacher has to meet minimum certification requirements which include:
- Having a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution or from an institution approved by the State Board of Education or an institution that has programs approved by NCATE.
- Completion of a teacher preparation program that is accredited either regionally or by NCATE
- Complete background check and clearance
- Successful completion of all required exams and basic skills exam.
Issuance, denial, suspension, and revocation of teacher and administrator licenses are handled by the State Board of Education. While the Board cannot make employment decisions, it can deny or approve licenses.
How Does the South Carolina Board of Education Handle Teaching License Issues?
The Board holds the authority to reprimand actions of licensed teachers if they fall outside the specified rules and regulations. Some common reasons why teachers may lose their license include:
- Conviction of a felony
- Conviction of possession of narcotics
- Performing teaching-related activities with students while being under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Altering or falsifying licensing documentation
- Suspension, revocation or denial of a license in another state
- sexual misconduct
- Any other good cause that the Board considers outside the domain of accepted professional conduct
Any such allegations, if substantiated and proven, can result in licenses suspension or revocation. It is important to keep in mind that teachers who have their licenses suspended, on hold or revoked, become flagged in the database managed by the Office of Teaching Licensing. This can thus have a long-term negative impact on a teacher’s’ career even if their license is reinstated. For example, a teacher who was suspended after being arrested for statutory rape will find it difficult to go to another school district and get a job. The database will have this information, and the teacher’s file will outline the specifics of their suspension. However, if the allegation is found to be untrue and if the teacher is cleared by the Board, there will be no history of the incident in the State database.
Teachers have been found to demonstrate unprofessional conduct. This includes drinking while on field trips with students, having sex with their students, exchanging inappropriate messages on the social media with their students and other similar actions that clearly indicate that the teachers crossed the line. Teachers have also been known to possess or consume alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and/or other drugs and pills while performing their school duties. In addition, cheating on license exams, falsifying grades, altering transcripts, and other similar actions has also been known to result in license suspensions and revocations.
How Can Social Media Affect My South Carolina Teaching License?
A major challenge in this new era has been the social media which has opened many outlets for increased student-teacher interaction. This interaction can often turn into something more and can cross boundaries that the Board wants teachers to respect. Teachers can also be abusive toward students or can be accused of insubordination. These could also be reasons for complaints being filed with the Board. Once a teacher’s license is revoked or suspended, they cannot work in any public schools in the state, but in reality, such a revocation or suspension generally has an impact on the teacher’s ability to find a job anywhere in the country even if they are reinstated.
Teachers work close to students and sometimes can establish emotional connections with certain students that may be inappropriate. The Board expects teachers to behave professionally at all times and to maintain a certain code of conduct that is worthy of their profession. Parents put their faith and trust in teachers and in the school’s system, and they expect that their children will be safe and secure. Teachers are thus obligated to meet these expectations and to ensure that they do not abuse their rights and privileges in any manner that would be harmful or unsafe for their students.
However, it is important to note that most teachers abide by the regulations and it is very small percentage of teachers who cross such boundaries or who exploit their position for their own personal benefits. That is why it is unfair to say that all teachers are bad because they are not. However, due to the actions of a few bad teachers, other teachers often have to deal with complaints and allegations that may not be true. That is because parents and students sometimes become too vigilant or extra-cautious. Student safety is a very important factor, but all teachers don’t risk their safety. Some do, and they should be dealt with accordingly, but for those who do feel that they have been treated unfairly or those who feel that they allegations against them are false, they should seek the services of an attorney immediately.
Schedule a Consultation with a SC License Defense Attorney
Teaching is a very noble profession. Teachers are held in great esteem by their students and are generally respected by the parents. Teachers have a certain responsibility to fulfill, and they can do so only if they know that their voice will be heard. If a complaint has been filed against you and if you know that you have not crossed any boundaries and have not done anything wrong based on the regulations and policies of the State Board of Education, you have a right to defend yourself.
The Jeffcoat Firm has an excellent legal team that is trained and experienced to deal with such cases. We will defend your license, and we will make sure we clear your name. We understand that you are passionate about your teaching career and that you care about your students. If there are circumstances of your case that you feel the investigator should know and the Board should understand, you can discuss that with one of our attorneys. We will defend your right to work, and we will ensure that your defense is presented in the best possible manner so that you can continue working as a teaching professional. It took a lot of effort to get to where you are, and you do not want to give it all up without putting up a fight.
Mr. Jeffcoat, a native of the Columbia area, founded the law firm in 1999. Mr. Jeffcoat got his undergraduate degree at Wofford College in 1994, majoring in Political Economy and Philosophy, and then went to the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he received his J.D. in 1997. After working in two law firms following his graduation from law school, Jeffcoat ventured out on his own to launch The Jeffcoat Firm in March of 1999.