California Education Code § 44830.1 prohibits school districts from employing teachers convicted of a serious felony or violent felony. Though there is an exception if you received a certificate of rehabilitation or pardon or if your conviction gets reversed.
The full text of the statute reads as follows:
EC 44830.1 – Employment of Felons
(a) In addition to any other prohibition or provision, no person who has been convicted of a violent or serious felony shall be hired by a school district in a position requiring certification qualifications or supervising positions requiring certification qualifications. A school district shall not retain in employment a current certificated employee who has been convicted of a violent or serious felony, and who is a temporary employee, a substitute employee, or a probationary employee serving before March 15 of the employee’s second probationary year. If any conviction is reversed and the formerly convicted person is acquitted of the offense in a new trial, or the charges are dismissed, this section does not prohibit his or her employment thereafter.
(b) This section applies to any violent or serious offense which, if committed in this state, would have been punishable as a violent or serious felony.
(1) For purposes of this section, a violent felony is any felony listed in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 of the Penal Code and a serious felony is any felony listed in subdivision (c) of Section 1192.7 of the Penal Code.
(2) For purposes of this section, a plea of nolo contendere to a serious or violent felony constitutes a conviction.
(3) For purposes of this section, the term “school district” has the same meaning as defined in Section 41302.5.
(d) When the governing board of any school district requests a criminal record summary of a temporary, substitute, or probationary certificated employee, two fingerprint cards, bearing the legible rolled and flat impressions of the person’s fingerprints together with a personal description and the fee, shall be submitted, by any means authorized by the Department of Justice, to the Department of Justice.
(e) When the Department of Justice ascertains that an individual who is an applicant for employment by a school district has been convicted of a violent or serious felony, or for purposes of implementing the prohibitions set forth in Section 44836, any sex offense, as defined in Section 44010, or any controlled substance offense, as defined in Section 44011, the department shall notify the school district of the criminal information pertaining to the applicant. The notification shall be delivered by telephone or electronic mail to the school district. The notification to the school district shall cease to be made once the statewide electronic fingerprinting network is returning responses within three working days. The Department of Justice shall send by first–class mail or electronic mail a copy of the criminal information to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The Department of Justice may charge a reasonable fee to cover the costs associated with processing, reviewing, and supplying the criminal record summary required by this section. In no event shall the fee exceed the actual costs incurred by the department.
(f) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a person shall not be denied employment or terminated from employment solely on the basis that the person has been convicted of a violent or serious felony if the person has obtained a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon pursuant to Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 4852.01) of Title 6 of Part 3 of the Penal Code.
(g) Notwithstanding subdivision(f), a person shall not be denied employment or terminated from employment solely on the basis that the person has been convicted of a serious felony that is not also a violent felony if that person can prove to the sentencing court of the offense in question, by clear and convincing evidence, that he or she has been rehabilitated for the purposes of school employment for at least one year. If the offense in question occurred outside this state, then the person may seek a finding of rehabilitation from the court in the school district in which he or she is a resident.
(h) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, when the Department of Justice notifies a school district by telephone or electronic mail that a current temporary employee, substitute employee, or probationary employee serving before March 15 of the employee’s second probationary year, has been convicted of a violent or serious felony, that employee shall immediately be placed on leave without pay. When the school district receives written electronic notification of the fact of conviction from the Department of Justice, the employee shall be terminated automatically and without regard to any other procedure for termination specified in this code or school district procedures unless the employee challenges the record of the Department of Justice and the Department of Justice withdraws in writing its notification to the school district. Upon receipt of written withdrawal of notification from the Department of Justice, the employee shall immediately be reinstated with full restoration of salary and benefits for the period of time from the suspension without pay to the reinstatement.
(i) An employer shall request subsequent arrest service from the Department of Justice as provided under Section 11105.2 of the Penal Code.
(j) Notwithstanding Section 47610, this section applies to a charter school.
(k) This section shall not apply to a certificated employee who applies to renew his or her credential when both of the following conditions have been met:
(1) The employee’s original application for credential was accompanied by that person’s fingerprints.
(2) The employee has either been continuously employed in one or more public school districts since the issuance or last renewal of his or her credential or his or her credential has not expired between renewals.
(l) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a county superintendent of schools from issuing a temporary certificate to any person described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (k).
(m) This section shall not prohibit a school district from hiring a certificated employee who became a permanent employee of another school district as of October 1, 1997.
(n) All information obtained from the Department of Justice is confidential. Every agency handling Department of Justice information shall ensure the following:
(1) No recipient may disclose its contents or provide copies of information.
(2) Information received shall be stored in a locked file separate from other files, and shall only be accessible to the custodian of records.
(3) Information received shall be destroyed upon the hiring determination in accordance with subdivision (a) of Section 708 of Title 11 of the California Code of Regulations.
(4) Compliance with destruction, storage, dissemination, auditing, backgrounding, and training requirements as set forth in Sections 700 through 708 inclusive, of Title 11 of the California Code of Regulations and Section 11077 of the Penal Code governing the use and security of criminal offender record information is the responsibility of the entity receiving the information from the Department of Justice.
California Education Code 44830.1 ED states that school districts cannot employ you if you have been convicted of a violent or serious felony for positions requiring certification qualifications. Though if your conviction gets reversed (such as on appeal), then this bar to employment is lifted.
There are some exceptions to this rule. School districts can employ you if you have been convicted of a violent- or serious felony if either:
- you received a pardon or certificate of rehabilitation; or
- you can prove by clear and convincing evidence that you have been rehabilitated for the purposes of school employment for at least one year.
Example: Robert has a robbery conviction, which is both a serious and violent felony. However, he applied for and was awarded a Governor’s Pardon. Therefore, no school district in California can disqualify Robert based solely on this past robbery conviction.
Note that when the Department of Justice finds that a school district job applicant has been convicted of a violent or serious felony, sex offense, or controlled substance offense, it will notify the school district as well as the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.1