Last Updated on October 19, 2023 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
Just WHAT is enough to get a school teacher or vice principal terminated? Taking action to terminate a school staff member is up to the individual school district involved and there decision to act. What is enough to show immorality or unfitness of a certain teacher or school staff member depends on the facts.
Court Supported Vice Principal’s Termination for Personal Ad
Some teacher or school staff members actions just go way too far. This was discovered when a vice principal, who was also a teacher, was fired for posting sexually explicit ads on the internet in San Diego Unified School District v. Commission on Professional Competence (2011).
In its opinion, the Court of Appeals upheld a school district termination of the school dean of students (aka vice principal) for posting a highly explicit sexual ad on Craigslist seeking male-on-male companionship.
The ad included four pictures, two of which were very intimate pictures of the dean’s private parts, while another showed the teacher’s face. The ad did not reference the teacher’s employment, name, nor was the ad connected in any way to the teacher’s school activities.
However, according to the court decision, the vice principal’s ad was viewed by a parent who reported it to the school Principal. Later, an investigator was assigned and the dean was terminated.
School Staff Could Be Unfit
Although the ad was personal and outside the purview of daily school activities, the Court upheld the staff’s termination for “immoral conduct,” and “evident unfitness.”
This was based in part on the dean’s activity, the fact that a parent and the Principal had seen the ad, and based on deference given by the court to the school district as the final decisionmaker on who is fit to work in their school district.
Termination Based on Failure of Teacher to Get EL Certificate
Another decision instructive on teacher termination is a decision by the Commission on Professional Competence (CPC) upholding a teacher’s firing for not getting her English Language (EL) certificate for 8 years, despite her school district’s orders. Her termination was upheld as she was found to have been unprofessional and insubordinate.
Even though such certification was not legislatively mandated, the Court of Appeals for the Third District in Governing Board of Ripon School District v. Commission on Professional Competence (2009) found that school districts can impose additional requirements on their employees, above and beyond what is outlined in the law.
The school district in this case (Ripon Unified) had imposed on all its teachers a requirement to be EL certified. The teacher was a music teacher, did not complete the EL training and was fired as a result.
Parents Can File Complaints on School Staff and Teachers
If a parent is having problems with a teacher or school staff member, they can file a personnel complaint or file with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. (CTCC).
Student lawyer Michelle Ball can help parents when school staff do wrong, via direct contact with schools, personnel complaints, and other methods of resolution. As an attorney centrally located in Sacramento California, she can assist in places as far flung as San Diego, Fort Bragg, Los Angeles, or as close to home as Roseville, San Francisco, Auburn, Citrus Heights or Granite Bay.