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Administrative complaints and your right to a defense

As an educator, you have rights when it comes to being accused of a crime or when having a complaint launched against you. If you've been served with an administrative complaint, then an investigation is going to be started. This investigation will look into the situation that you were accused of acting inappropriately during, so the Commissioner of Education can decide on how to handle the case. During this time, you may be put on leave, or you could be left in your position. What happens depends directly on what you're accused of doing.

The penalties for administrative complaints are handled by the Education Practice Commission. The EPC is made up of law enforcement officers, citizens, administrators and other teachers. These people decide on how to penalize you if you are found guilty of the claim made against you. Each case may be weighed differently, which is why it's important to defend yourself from the start.

If you've had a complaint filed against you, you need to understand what those charges mean. Typically, charges that are filed by the Department of Education are created with the intent to discipline you. That could mean taking away your Florida Educator Certificate or denying you the renewal of such a license.

Any time you receive charges like these levied against you, you can seek legal assistance. You have the right to an attorney and may defend your reputation against the charges. You'll need to appear at formal hearings where the charges will be discussed, and you'll also receive a Recommended Order, which describes whether or not the judge feels you need to be penalized.

Source: Florida Department of Education, "Professional Practices," accessed June 04, 2015

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