State law requires virtually all individuals who will have direct contact with students in the public school system to undergo some type of criminal history review. Certified educators, classroom substitutes and aides must submit fingerprints and be subject to national criminal history background checks. Individuals who have been convicted of certain serious crimes are ineligible for employment by a public school and may be subject to suspension or revocation of their teaching credentials. Criminal history information collected by a school district, the Department of Public Safety, SBEC or TEA is confidential. An educator may obtain a copy of his/her own criminal history.
All applicants for certification who have not previously held a certificate issued by SBEC are required to undergo fingerprinting and a national criminal history background check prior to becoming certified. Additionally, any individual enrolled/planning to enroll in an educator preparation program for teacher certification or planning to take a certification exam who has reason to believe that he/she may be ineligible for certification due to a conviction or deferred adjudication for a felony or misdemeanor offense, can ask TEA to issue a criminal history evaluation letter regarding the person’s eligibility for a teaching certificate. The fee for such a request is $50.