Abuse and Sexual Assault
The number of California teachers who are losing their credentials for sexual misconduct continues to be a problem, resulting in unnecessary harm to students, according to a data analysis by the San Jose law firm of Cerri, Boskovich & Allard.
In 2023, another 58 teachers were stripped of their credentials, bringing the 11-year total to nearly 650 educators. The data was gleaned from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing board minutes.
The chart below lists the 647 sex-related credential revocations since 2013.
Year - # of Credentials Revoked
This trend is concerning and requires an urgent need for more robust prevention measures and accountability within the educational system.
“It is estimated that at least one in ten students is a victim of educator sexual misconduct before the age of 18, but school districts continue to put student safety at risk by refusing to support and implement sexual abuse prevention programs,” said Cerri, Boskovich & Allard founding partner Robert Allard.
School sexual abuse prevention programs should be mandatory, Allard said, because they help administrators, teachers, and students identify the “red flag” grooming behaviors that predators use to gain a child’s trust. It’s also important for parents and members of the community at large to learn how to recognize these behaviors.
“The red flags to watch out for include getting a child alone, having favorites, gift-giving, and inappropriate touching like hugging and holding hands,” said Lauren Cerri, Boskovich & Allard attorney Lauren Cerri. “There is a huge grooming process that takes place, not just of the child but of everyone.”Failure to Investigate School Sexual Abuse
California law mandates that educators report any reasonable suspicions of abuse, which are often signaled by such red flag behaviors, directly to law enforcement. However, failures in reporting and inadequate investigations by schools instead of experienced law enforcement professionals have allowed some teachers to continue abusing students without fear of repercussions.
“We’ve seen in case after case that failing to report red flag behavior is one of the main reasons teachers are able to get away with sexually abusing students,” Cerri said. “Schools should not be investigating these reports – that’s the job of experienced law enforcement investigators who are trained to do so.”Revocation of Teaching Credentials in California
In California, teachers accused of sexual misconduct enjoy a lengthy review and appeals process before the revocation of their teaching credentials.Initial Investigation
When an allegation of sexual misconduct is made against a teacher, it typically triggers an initial investigation by the school district or the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). This investigation aims to gather facts and evidence related to the allegation. Teachers are allowed to respond to the allegations against them during this phase.CTC Review
If the initial investigation finds that there may be merit to the allegations, the case is forwarded to the CTC for a more detailed review. The CTC has the authority to take disciplinary action against educators, including suspending or revoking teaching credentials. This step involves thoroughly examining the evidence and may include hearings where both sides can present their case.
Statement of Issues and Formal Hearing
If the CTC decides to pursue disciplinary action, it will file a "Statement of Issues" against the teacher. The teacher then has the right to request a formal hearing before an administrative law judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings. This hearing is a critical part of the process, resembling a court trial, where evidence is presented and witnesses can be called to testify.Decision and Appeals
After the hearing, the administrative law judge will issue a proposed decision, which the CTC can adopt, modify, or reject. If the decision involves revoking the teacher's credentials, the teacher has the right to appeal the decision within the CTC. Further appeals can be made to the California Superior Court and higher courts.Length and Complexity of the Process
The review and appeals process is intentionally comprehensive to protect the rights of teachers and ensure that any action taken against their credentials is justified by solid evidence. However, this thoroughness means that the process can take several months to several years to complete, during which time the teacher may be suspended from teaching but not permanently removed from the profession.
The law requires the CTC to revoke a credential already issued to a person convicted of any sex offense defined under Education Code Section 44010. However, the wheels of justice work slowly.
The law also requires all superintendents and charter school administrators to notify the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing if a credential holder is dismissed, suspended, or placed on unpaid administrative leave for more than ten days following an allegation of sexual misconduct, including sex abuse allegations. LAUSD officials say it costs, on average, $300,000 per teacher to have their credentials revoked, and it can also take years.
Fortunately, the increasing awareness and media coverage of the child sexual abuse epidemic has encouraged more victims to come forward, contributing to the rising number of teachers losing their credentials.
Learn more about the problem of Teacher Sexual Misconduct.Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Teaching Credential Revocation for Sex Crimes
A teacher’s credential can be revoked in California if they are convicted of a sex crime or if an investigation by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) finds substantial evidence of sexual misconduct with a student or minor. This includes crimes such as sexual assault, possession of child pornography, and any unlawful sexual relationship with a minor.How does the revocation process work?
The revocation process begins with an investigation by the CTC, often triggered by a report from a school district, law enforcement, or direct complaints from individuals. If the CTC finds credible evidence of misconduct, it can suspend or revoke a teacher's credential. Teachers have the right to appeal the decision through an administrative hearing.How can students and parents report suspected sexual misconduct by a teacher?
Students and parents can report suspected sexual misconduct to school administrators, directly to the CTC through their website, or to local law enforcement. California law requires school staff to report any allegations of sexual abuse to the authorities immediately.Can a teacher whose credential has been revoked for a sex crime teach again?
A teacher whose credential has been revoked for a sex crime is typically barred from teaching in public schools in California. They may apply for reinstatement after a certain period, depending on the severity of the offense, but must undergo a rigorous review process, including demonstrating rehabilitation and a lack of risk to students.Contact Our Child Sex Abuse Lawyers
If you or a loved one has suffered sexual abuse, please call the law firm of Cerri, Boskovich & Allard. We can help guide you through this difficult time. If you have been a victim of one of these educators, please contact our law firm at (408) 289-1417. There is a good chance that you may still have legal options. You can also contact us online to schedule your free, confidential consultation.