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Florida teachers: How to address educator misconduct

"No one is perfect; we all make mistakes." These are lessons we learn from a very early age, often from some of our first teachers who are also imperfect, though this can be easy to forget.

Teachers and other educators make their living setting examples for young people. As such, it can be particularly upsetting when one of these parties engages in misconduct inside or outside the school. However, these situations do not necessarily have to spell the end of an educator's career. 

Know what to report and report it properly

Not all types of educator misconduct warrant reporting by a student, parent or the teacher. For instance, it may not be necessary to report acts outside of school that do not have criminal consequences or affect a teacher's professional standing.

Misconduct that typically should be reported include assault or battery involving a student, cheating on professional exams, and arrests. A more thorough list of misconduct warranting report and investigation in Florida can be found here.

Depending on the nature of the misconduct, the parties involved and the type of school at which an educator is employed, there can be strict guidelines for when and how parties must file a report. Complying with these rules will be crucial in minimizing additional consequences.

Take the situation and the penalties seriously

Whether misconduct is minor or serious, educators should not minimize the situation. Dismissing misconduct, even alleged misconduct, could put a person's job and reputation in jeopardy.

It can also be wise to consult an attorney as soon as possible if you are a teacher facing misconduct allegations. With legal guidance, you can better understand your legal rights and the steps you can take to try to protect your career and possibly your freedom.

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