Nevada teachers risk having their licenses suspended or revoked by the Nevada State Board of Education for either:
- a felony conviction,
- a crime of moral turpitude conviction,
- a sex offense with a student conviction, or
- unprofessional conduct
Many disciplinary matters can be resolved through an admonition, which can eventually be wiped from the teacher’s record. Otherwise, educators facing disciplinary proceedings are entitled to a hearing. Depending on the case, Board will ultimately decide whether to:
- dismiss the matter,
- suspend the teacher’s license,
- revoke the teacher’s license,
- demote the teacher, or
- terminate or refuse to reemploy the teacher
Educators are encouraged to retain private counsel as soon as possible to represent them at the hearing and to fight to keep their license.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. How does NV’s Education Commission work?
- 2. Can I apply for a teacher’s license with a criminal record?
- 3. What triggers disciplinary action against teachers?
- 4. What is the NV disciplinary process for teachers?
- 5. What if I was arrested for breaking up a fight?
- 6. What if I lied on my teaching application?
- 7. Other occupational licenses in Nevada
1. How does Nevada’s Commission on Professional Standards in Education work?
The Nevada Department of Education’s Commission on Professional Standards in Education is a state regulatory body tasked with setting licensure standards, granting teaching licenses, and disciplining teachers. The Commission consists of eleven Nevada Governor appointees, including:
- 1 secondary school teacher
- 1 middle school or junior high school teacher
- 1 elementary school teacher
- 1 special education teacher
- 1 preschool teacher
- 1 school counselor, psychologist, speech-language pathologist, audiologist, or social worker
- 2 administrators
- 1 parent or legal guardian of a public school pupil
- 1 member who has expertise and experience in the operation of a business
- the dean of the College of Education at one of the universities in the Nevada System of Higher Education, or a representative of one of the Colleges of Education nominated by such a dean for appointment by the Governor
The Commission posts online its meeting schedule and minutes.1
2. Can I apply to be a Nevada teacher with a criminal record?
Yes, though the Commission may deny teaching licenses to people who have been convicted of either:
However, the Commission may overlook a criminal record if the Superintendent of Public Instruction determines that the conviction is unrelated to the teaching position.
People with criminal records who want to apply for a Nevada teaching license are encouraged to consult with an attorney. It may be possible to seal the criminal record and/or frame the application in a way that downplays the convictions’ relations to teaching.2
3. What triggers disciplinary actions against Nevada teachers?
The Commission can commence disciplinary actions against teachers who get convicted of any of the following crimes:
- a felony,
- a crime involving moral turpitude, or
- any of the following sex offenses with a pupil:
- sexual assault (rape),
- statutory sexual seduction,
- committing anal intercourse, cunnilingus or fellatio in public,
- indecent exposure,
- lewdness with a child under 16,
- sexual conduct between a school employee and a pupil, or
- luring children
The Commission can commence disciplinary actions against teachers for various acts of misconduct. Ten common examples of misconduct that can subject the educator to discipline include:
- immoral or unprofessional conduct,
- evident unfitness for service, or physical or mental incapacity which renders the teacher, administrator or other licensed employee unfit for service,
- knowingly advocating the overthrow of the Federal Government or of the State of Nevada by force, violence or unlawful means,
- persistent defiance of or refusal to obey the regulations of the Board, the Commission or the Superintendent of Public Instruction, defining and governing the duties of teachers, administrators and other licensed employees,
- breaches in the security or confidentiality of the questions and answers of examinations and the college and career readiness assessment, or intentional failure to observe and carry out the requirements of a plan to ensure the security of examinations and assessments,
- intentional use of aversive intervention or physical restraints (unless a legal exception applies),
- knowingly and willfully failing to report bullying, or falsely reporting a pupil’s attendance,
- breaching the teaching contract,
- inefficiency, insubordination, dishonesty, neglect of duty, gross misconduct, inadequate performance, or failure to show normal improvement and evidence of professional training, or
- failure to comply with the Nevada Board of Education’s reasonable requirements
It makes no difference if the criminal conviction or misconduct allegedly occurred in Nevada or another jurisdiction.3
4. What is Nevada’s disciplinary process for teachers?
Disciplinary proceedings often start locally in the teacher’s school district, and the procedures vary depending on the location. In many cases, the matter can be resolved with an “admonition.” And if the teacher addresses the issue, the admonition can be removed from his/her records.
A school’s superintendent can immediately suspend a teacher’s license if:
- the teacher gets charged with a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude or immorality, or
- his/her suspension is the students’ best interest.
Afterward, the teacher is entitled to have a hearing, where the Board will ultimately decide to revoke or reinstate the person’s license.
Otherwise, the teacher will retain his/her license while the disciplinary process proceeds…
4.1. Notification of Disciplinary Recommendations
If the school district’s board of trustees decides to recommend to the State Board of Education that a teacher’s license be suspended or revoked, the Board will notify the teacher of the charges. The teacher then has 15 days to send a written request to the Superintendent of Public Instruction to request a hearing.
If the teacher submits a timely request for a hearing, the Superintendent and teacher go through the process of selecting hearing officers. If the teacher (or his/her attorney) never responds to the notice, the Board may impose discipline without first hearing from the teacher.
Note that as soon as teachers learn that they may be facing disciplinary proceedings, they are strongly encouraged to hire an attorney right away to represent them until the proceeding ends.
4.2. Disciplinary hearing
A teacher’s disciplinary hearing must occur within 30 days after the hearing officers are selected (unless both parties agree to an extension of time). The hearing resembles a trial in that both parties may present evidence and witnesses for testimony and cross-examination.
After the hearing ends, the officers have 15 days to prepare a decision that recommends whether the teacher’s license be suspended or revoked. The Board may accept or reject this recommendation.
4.3. Demotion, dismissal, or refusal to reemploy
Teachers whose licenses are safe are still entitled to disciplinary hearings if they are facing a job demotion, termination, or refusal to be reemployed by their school. After the hearing, the hearing officer will submit a recommendation to the school district’s superintendent…
Within 5 days of the recommendation, the superintendent will make his/her own recommendation to the Board. Within 15 days of this recommendation, the Board will make its decision and notify the teacher with a written decision.
In many cases, teachers who have been disciplined may be able to appeal their decision in his/her jurisdiction’s district court.4
5. What if I was arrested for breaking up a fight at school?
Teachers who were arrested for battery and/or assault or a similar crime for attempting to maintain a safe and peaceful school environment will have their legal defense provided by the school district. And even though the school district is paying, the teacher will still enjoy the attorney-client confidentiality privilege with his/her lawyer(s).
Note that if the criminal court ultimately determines that the teacher’s conduct was wanton, malicious, or outside the scope of his/her employment, then the teacher needs to pay back the legal bills. Furthermore, the teacher may face disciplinary proceedings (see the previous section).5
6. What happens if I lie on my application to be a teacher in Nevada?
Nevada teaching applicants who knowingly provide false information or willfully fail to disclose any required information can be prosecuted for a misdemeanor. The penalty includes:
- up to $1,000 in fines, and/or
- up to 6 months in jail
If the defendant was already a licensed teacher when he/she was convicted of this crime, the Board of Education can impose discipline, including:
- license revocation
- license suspension
- a civil penalty of up to $10,000
A criminal defense attorney may be able to get charges of lying on a teaching application reduced or dismissed. A common defense is to show that the misinformation on the application was unintentional, and the applicant did not deliberately lie or withhold the truth.6
7. Other occupational licenses
The Nevada Nursing Board can suspend or revoke the licenses of nurses and nursing assistants who commit certain crimes or misconduct. Learn more about nursing license revocations and suspensions.
Dentists or hygienists face license suspension or revocation for certain criminal or unprofessional behavior. Learn more about dentist license revocations and suspensions.
Doctors, physician assistants, and respiratory care specialists are subject to discipline for unprofessional or criminal behavior. Learn more about medical license revocations and suspensions.
7.4. Real Estate Brokers
The Nevada Real Estate Commission levies discipline against brokers or salespeople who violate its regulations. Learn more in our article on disciplinary proceedings and license revocations for real estate brokers and salespeople.
7.5. Contractors (Builders)
Builders who create constructive defects or commit certain criminal acts can be disciplined by the State Contractors Board. Learn more in our article on disciplinary proceedings and license revocations for contractors.
The Nevada State Bar can discipline lawyers for violating the Rules of Professional Conduct or committing certain criminal offenses. Learn more about attorney license disbarment or suspension.
CPAs may lose their license if they commit professional misconduct or certain crimes. Learn more in our article about disciplinary proceedings and license suspensions for accountants.
7.8. Social Workers
Social workers may be able to avoid a disciplinary hearing by signing a consent decree (similar to a plea bargain). Go to our article about suspending or revoking social worker’s licenses in disciplinary hearings.
Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney…
Is your teaching license in jeopardy? Call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys for a consultation. We will do everything we can so you can keep your license and get back to your teaching, the most important job there is.
Facing discipline in California? See our article on California teaching licenses and disciplinary actions.
- NRS 391.011.
- NRS 391.033.
- NRS 391.330; NRS 391.750.
- NRS 391.322; NRS 391.323; NRS 391.750 – NRS 391.800.
- NRS 391.271.
- NRS 391.885.