Teacher requests hearing over sanctions to his certification | TCTA
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Teacher requests hearing over sanctions to his certification

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A complaint was filed against a teacher, alleging that his teaching certificate was subject to sanctions based on his conduct toward another teacher. The teacher requested a hearing regarding the attempt to impose sanctions on his certification.

At the hearing, the evidence showed that the teacher had engaged in a sexual affair with a co-worker. At some point during the relationship, he became suspicious that she was having a relationship with someone else. He went to her apartment, left, then sent a series of threatening text messages to her that evening. Specifically, he threatened to pistol whip her and kill her.

The teacher testified that he sent these text messages to her in an effort to intimidate her into admitting that she was seeing someone else. In response, the co-worker told him to stop or she would call the police. The next morning, he texted her again, this time stating that he did not want to hurt anyone, but that he had a gun and would use it if he had to. He also said that if she came to school she would "see what 'he' had for her." The co-worker called the police and the teacher was arrested when he reported to work the next day.

After he was arrested, he continued to contact his co-worker, sending her between 80-100 text messages. He was arrested again and charged with felony stalking. A protective order was issued and he was required to wear an ankle monitor that tracked his location. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of harassment and was sentenced to two years of community supervision.

In his defense, the teacher argued that he had shown rehabilitative effort. He completed a batterer's intervention program, a domestic violence panel, a 24-week course for anger management and 80 hours of community service. He was employed as a teacher during his period of community supervision, during which time he was recognized as teacher of the month and received a distinguished service award. His supervisors spoke highly of his work, saying that he was a strong leader and a valuable asset. In his personal life, he was married and expecting his second child with his wife. He served as a minister and had published a 40-day devotional. The harassment charge was the only offense in his criminal history.

The administrative law judge concluded that the teacher had violated a provision of the Educator's Code of Ethics that prohibits educators from making threats of violence against school district employees. The teacher had also been convicted of a crime that directly relates to the duties and responsibilities of the education profession. The administrative law judge felt that the crime of harassment related directly to the teacher's duties as a teacher because he had threatened to harm his co-worker if she came to school. The administrative law judge recommended that the teacher's certification be suspended for two years. The State Board of Educator Certification accepted that recommendation and suspended the teaching certificate for two years.