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  1. #1

    Default Already Have a Teaching License, but Can I Get Hired

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: California

    I am a young art teacher planning on moving to Los Angeles this summer. I got my California Teaching Certificate a few months ago, and was lucky enough to get a job a few days ago. However, a few weeks ago I was caught shoplifting and charged with a misdemeanor. It was a stupid mistake and I have an incredible amount of remorse and stress. My new employer wants me to come out to LA at the end of July to get fingerprinted before I can begin new teacher orientation. I am working on getting an attorney to help me with my case, but if I do end up with a criminal record how will that affect my employment? Most things I've found online are about getting licensed as a teacher, but I am already licensed and well on my way to being employed. This is my dream job that I have waited a year to get- I am terrified that I will lose it and destroy my future. Is there a chance that I could fly out there, get fingerprinted, and get sent back to PA with no job?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Already Have a Teaching License, but Can I Get Hired

    When you choose to be a criminal, you need to accept that there can be serious ramifications for your criminal acts. You have a college education - you should know this.

    You can work with your lawyer to try to avoid a conviction.

    Nobody here can promise you that your employer won't find out about a conviction. If you want to know what your employer's policy is, when it discovers that new hires have misdemeanor theft records, you need to ask them. For now, I suggest working with your lawyer to try to avoid the conviction such that it's less of an issue.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Already Have a Teaching License, but Can I Get Hired

    Teaching right now is a very competitive field due to the small number of jobs and the large number of applicants. On the average I am reading that there are more than 10 applicants for every open position in a district. Many of these open positions are going to teachers who have some experience within the district such as working as substitutes or other positions. Fortunately for you, many of these districts are also looking to minimize costs and appear to be hiring teachers with little experience or college after they received their degree and credential because that places them at a lower pay scale. UN-fortunately for you, a criminal record (one that is a crime of moral turpitude) may put you at the bottom of any potential hiring pool.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Already Have a Teaching License, but Can I Get Hired

    I understand all that, what I'm saying is I already have a job offer. They are sending me the contract in the mail to sign ahead of time. The issue is once I get out there they want to fingerprint me and run background checks. If I can't get this taken care of, and there is something on my record, would they revoke their job offer and send me packing back to Pennsylvania?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Already Have a Teaching License, but Can I Get Hired

    They could absolutely do that, yes. One would assume that any offer would be made PENDING a background check - in other words, if they find something they don't like, they're legally able to withdraw the offer and send you packing.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Already Have a Teaching License, but Can I Get Hired

    Quote Quoting artteacher112
    View Post
    If I can't get this taken care of, and there is something on my record, would they revoke their job offer and send me packing back to Pennsylvania?
    They might/can do that. No one here can say what any individual employer might do.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Already Have a Teaching License, but Can I Get Hired

    Quote Quoting artteacher112
    View Post
    I understand all that, what I'm saying is I already have a job offer. They are sending me the contract in the mail to sign ahead of time. The issue is once I get out there they want to fingerprint me and run background checks. If I can't get this taken care of, and there is something on my record, would they revoke their job offer and send me packing back to Pennsylvania?
    We cannot tell you what your prospective employer will do. The only way you can determine whether they will pull the job offer when they find out about your shoplifting charge is to call them, tell them what you did, and ask if that will cause them to rescind the job offer. You may as well be up front about the situation and find out now before you move. I realize this is a call you don't want to make but you're much better off finding out sooner rather than later. I suspect the most likely outcome is that they will rescind the job offer.

    If they rescind the job offer or find out about the arrest/conviction after you are hired and terminate your employment, both will be legal.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Already Have a Teaching License, but Can I Get Hired

    OP, you probably want to engage your criminal defense counsel to assist you examine the practical implications here. If you can avoid a conviction through a “probation before judgment” program or similar diversion program in PA, you can, at a minimum, ultimately avoid having a conviction on your criminal record. Assuming that this was a first offense and involved a relatively small value of goods, then you should be able to have the charges eventually dismissed through a diversion program.

    You and your counsel can then comb through the requirements for the Los Angeles teaching position. I would presume having a misdemeanor charge – as opposed to a misdemeanor conviction -- would not preclude your hiring. If this is a state or municipal position, the hiring representatives will have to follow the applicable civil service rules and, possibly, collective bargaining agreement provisions. It is entirely possible, if not indeed likely, neither the civil service rules nor the collective bargaining agreement would allow the school system to not hire an applicant with a minor, misdemeanor charge.

    In sum, you may figuratively dodge a bullet here, and you may possibly be able to take this LA position without incident. Nonetheless, you need to have a serious maturity check. It is far easier to forgive a teenager who shoplifts because his or her brain has not fully developed. It is harder to forgive a college graduate in his or her twenties who does not have the same excuse.

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