Certificate Suspension

The certificate of any teacher may be revoked or suspended by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Any school district or educational service district superintendent may initiate revocation and/or suspension of certification on the grounds of a lack of good moral character or personal fitness or acts of unprofessional conduct. Violation of written contract, intemperance, and any crime against the laws of the State of Washington also constitute grounds for revocation or suspension of a teaching certificate. Revocation is mandatory for a guilty plea or conviction in a crime against a child. RCW 28A.410.090Those who hold certificates are also subject to a continuing requirement of good moral character and personal fitness under WAC 180-75-083. WAC 180-75-081 defines “good moral character & personal fitness” as:

1. No conviction of any felony involving child abuse.

a. Physical neglect of a child
b. Physical injury or death of a child (except motor vehicle violations)
c. Sexual exploitation of a child
d. Sexual offenses where a child is the victim
e. Promotion of child prostitution
f. Sale or purchase of a child
g. The crimes listed above include those in other jurisdictions
h. A guilty plea is defined as a conviction

2. No conviction of any crime within the last 10 years, including motor vehicle violations, which would materially and substantially impair worthiness and ability to serve within the public and private schools of the state. The following factors will be considered:

a. Age and maturity at the time the criminal act was committed;
b. Degree of culpability required for conviction, mitigating factors;
c. Classification of crime and seriousness of harm to persons
d. Criminal history and likelihood crime will be repeated;
e. Permissibility of service as educator within terms or probation or
f. Proximity or remoteness in time of the prior criminal conviction;
g. Evidence offered which would support good moral character and
personal fitness;
h. Effect on education profession;
i. The certificate holder has the duty to provide evidence regarding the above factors.

3. No serious behavioral problem which endangers the educational welfare or personal safety of students, teachers, or other colleagues.

4. No intentional practice within Washington with an expired, lapsed, surrendered, or revoked certificate.

Various other regulations define “unprofessional conduct:”

1. WAC 180-87-050 misrepresentation or falsification in the course of professional practice. This includes any deliberate misrepresentation, including the omission of a material fact in:

a. Statement of professional qualifications
b. Application or recommendation for employment, promotion, certification, or endorsement
c. Application or recommendation for college admission, scholarship, etc.
d. Representation of completion of inservice or continuing education hours
e. Evaluations or grading of student or personnel
f. Financial or compliance reports submitted to a government agency
g. Information given to SPI in the course of an official inquiry re good moral character, personal fitness, or unprofessional conduct
h. Information submitted in an investigation by police or CPS regarding school related criminal activity

2. WAC 180-87-060: disregard of recognized professional standards. This means flagrant disregard or clear abandonment of generally recognized professional standards during:

a. Assessment, treatment, instruction of students
b. Employment or evaluation of personnel
c. Management of money or property

3. WAC 180-87-065: abandonment of contract is defined as permanent abandonment, without good cause, of employment contract, including extra curricular contract.

4. WAC 180-87-070: unauthorized professional practices includes these acts if performed without good cause:

a. Employment of uncertified personnel
b. Assignment of any responsibility in nursing, physical therapy, or
occupational therapy to one not licensed
c. Practice during suspension of certificate
d. Failure to obey agreement not to accept employment
e. Failure to obey any condition of an order or decision
f. Good cause includes exigent circumstances to protect health, safety, general welfare of students.

 5. WAC 180-87-080: sexual misconduct with students. Includes any sexually explicit act with a student. WAC 180-87-040 defines a student as:

a. under supervision of educational practitioner, or
b. enrolled in any school or district served by educational practitioner, or
c. enrolled in any school or district while attending school related activity at which educational practitioner is performing professional duties, or
d. former student under 18 who has been under supervision of educational practitioner.

6. AC 180-87-085: furnishing alcohol or controlled substances to students.

7. WAC 180-87-090: improper remunerative conduct which is a deliberate act requiring/pressuring students to buy anything from educational practitioner.

8. WAC 180-87-095: failure to file complaint by superintendent, ESD superintendent, when (WAC 180-86-110) superintendent or ESD superintendent has “sufficient reliable information to believe that a school employee is not of good moral character, or personally fit, or has committed an act of unprofessional conduct, such superintendent within reasonable period of time: shall file written complaint with SPI. If considering discharge, need not file complaint until 10 days after issuance of notice of discharge.

9. WAC 180-87-055: use of alcohol or controlled substances is unprofessional conduct under these circumstances:

a. Acting under the influence on school premises or during a school-sponsored activity following:

  • notice by employer of concern regarding alcohol or substance abuse affecting job performance
  • employer recommendation to seek counseling
  • reasonable opportunity to obtain counseling

b. Possession or use on school premises or at a school-sponsored activity of controlled substances without a prescription.

c. Consumption of alcohol on school premises or at a school-sponsored activity involving students if contrary to district or building policy.