Teachers, like everyone else, are subject to the laws of New York State and New York City. When a teacher violates one of these laws, whether it occurs in or outside of their school, they will be arrested. However, unlike normal citizens, New York City public school teachers must deal with not only the arrest itself and the crimes charged, but more importantly, the effect that the arrest and the prosecution will have on their job and career. Unfortunately, the consequences can be felt immediately and well before the case has a chance to make its way through the criminal justice system.
Whether an crime charged is for something as simple as a Petit Larceny Desk Appearance Ticket or as serious as a felony arrest, the Department of Education dictates certain crimes and procedures that can devastate, freeze or end the career of a teacher. As such, the DOE requires that each arrest must be reported in a specific manner within a specific time frame. It is absolutely essential for a teacher to consult with a Manhattan or Brooklyn criminal defense attorney who understands and can guide them through these reporting requirements.
If you are a teacher, and the police should arrest you in school for any reason, work-related or not, you or your chapter leader should immediately contact your district representative, who will contact the UFT's central office for assistance. You should give the UFT representative the name, phone number and precinct of the arresting officer along with any other details you have regarding the arrest. If you are arrested at school or for something work-related and you notify the UFT, the union may provide a criminal attorney to represent you up to and through any arraignment. If you are arrested (regardless of whether it is work-related), you must immediately notify your principal and the Office of Personnel Investigations in writing (Chancellor's Regulation C-105). If you are arrested for any actions arising out of the disciplining of a student, you should immediately seek legal representation.
The DOE mandates that a teacher arrested (including being issued a DAT) must report their arrest to the OPI as well as the teacher's supervisor. The notification must be made in writing and it must include a copy of the criminal court complaint. Failure to make necessary notifications may result in disciplinary actions, including suspension or termination of employment. This may be true even if the case is ultimately dismissed.
It is common that most teachers who are arrested have clean criminal records. Thus, the likelihood of a teacher spending a long period of time behind bars is small. However, the reality is that there are potentially severe collateral consequences for teachers that are associated with certain pleas and criminal convictions. Important questions such as what will happen to the teacher's license, employment, and teaching certification must be addressed before accepting even a great sounding plea offer from the District Attorney's Office. It is important to consult with your Manhattan or Brooklyn criminal defense attorney to review these consequences, applicable statutes, laws and regulations associated with arrests of Department of Education employees and teachers.
Source: United Federation of Teachers
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