April 9, 2007
Jefferson City, Mo.— A new online form from Attorney General Jay Nixon streamlines the process for Missouri school districts to ask his office to file charges to discipline a teacher’s certificate. Missouri law allows the districts to bring a petition to the state Board of Education, or the Attorney General can bring the petition to the Board at the request of a district.
“School districts should be able to act quickly to prevent those who are unfit for teaching from being in classrooms and instructing our children,” Nixon said. “We have worked with numerous school districts over the last several years to take away the teaching certificates of those who have shown they have no business teaching. This online form helps districts in providing us with essential information more quickly so we can take appropriate action.”
The chief administrative officer of the district or the president of the district’s board of education (when authorized by a majority of that board) is authorized to complete and submit the petition.
In 2006, the Attorney General’s Office brought 31 petitions to the state Board of Education to discipline teaching certificates. Of those petitions, six licenses were revoked; 14 have either had a hearing and are awaiting a decision, or are awaiting a hearing by the Board of Education; and another eight are under investigation. Among the certificates revoked were a former principal who misappropriated several hundred dollars of district funds and used school computers to send sexually explicit e-mails, and a former teacher who admitted to inappropriately touching his teenage stepdaughter in bed.
Grounds for the state Board of Education to refuse to issue or renew, or suspend or revoke a certificate of license to teach include incompetency, cruelty, immorality, drunkenness or neglect of duty. The Board also may act if a certificate holder or applicant for a certificate has pleaded guilty to or been found guilty of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude. State law provides that the Board shall revoke the certificate or deny the application for certification of anyone pleading guilty to or found guilty of any dangerous felony, as defined by state law; or any of several crimes involving sexual offenses against a child, child abuse, endangering the welfare of a child, or pornography crimes involving a child.