The Canadian Bar Insurance Association
Criminal

Dealing with accusations of professional misconduct as a teacher

By John Navarrete

Professional misconduct among educators in Ontario can take on different forms, and the severity can range from allegations of harm done directly to students to acts that could be detrimental to the profession. Misconduct charges against educators do not always involve actions that occurred on campus, nor do they always involve members of the school or college community. Unfortunately, almost all allegations of misconduct are severe and could have dire consequences — even if there are no grounds for them.

If you are a teacher, you have most likely worked extremely hard to reach your professional status. Allegations of misconduct after your investment of significant resources over many years could be devastating. The damage to your reputation could have life-long repercussions even without a conviction or loss of licensing.

Misconduct detrimental to the profession

The list of possible inappropriate actions by teachers is almost endless, and if you find yourself facing allegations of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity, you have the right to procedural fairness. The following are but a few of the potential complaints against educators:

  • Providing falsified documents or information concerning your qualifications as a professional educator
  • Using a designation, title or term that indicates a professional specialty that your registration or Certificate of Qualification does not reflect
  • Inappropriately practising your profession while you have a dysfunction that adversely affects your ability
  • Continuing your duties while you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, narcotics or any substance

Misconduct related directly to interactions with students

Allegations of misconduct involving students can often come with an even greater significance than many of the general misconduct allegations. Some of the alleged acts within this realm that could qualify as misconduct include the following:

  • The inappropriate disclosure of a student's information to anybody other than the student or his or her parents — if the student is a minor
  • Allegations of verbal, physical, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse to a student

Know your rights

There are many more potential allegations that might threaten your license, and knowing your rights could save your reputation and your career. Having an Ontario lawyer who has experience in protecting the rights of professionals who face misconduct allegations in your corner can be a significant advantage. An experienced lawyer can carefully analyze the circumstances of your case, represent you in hearings and even launch an appeal if necessary.

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