For each of the following scenarios, consider whether the teachers’ private or off-duty conduct undermined or compromised their on-duty position and whether it should have implications for their employment or certification status.
Susan B is a high school English teacher with 20 years of experience. During a sabbatical leave, Ms. B takes a part-time job as a stripper in a local club. While still completing the professional expectations of her sabbatical, Ms. B feels she can earn some extra money and is not jeopardizing her career since she is technically not teaching at the time. News of her employment, however, spreads throughout the community and the administration receives complaints about the teachers' dual employment. Would your opinion change if Ms. B was a stripper during college to subsidize her tuition but quit after graduation?
James C. is a middle school history teacher who was arrested for drunk driving. After several months, the teacher goes to court and is convicted of the offense. When the district moves to have Mr. C fired for his conviction, Mr. C argues that this offense has no influence over his ability to instruct his students. Also, the offense happened during the weekend on his private time.
Melanie R. is a middle school physical education teacher who was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana over the summer. Since it was her first offense, Miss R. was able to enter a drug rehabilitation program rather than go to jail. Miss R. receives notice that a complaint has been filed with the Department of Education and that her certification may be in jeopardy. Miss R. believes that because the offense happened over the summer on "her time" that it should not have any effect on her profession.
Peter W is a fourth grade teacher. After a contentious divorce from his wife, the two have battled for custody of their two children. In an attempt to gain full custody of the children, Mr. W forges the signature of his ex-wife's lawyer on court documents and files them with the county courthouse. The forgery is discovered by court officials and Mr. W is arrested for the offense. Mr. W believes that since the forgery did not directly affect his ability to instruct his students that it should not influence his career or certification status.
Frank K is a high school biology teacher who sells "knock-off" handbags and watches at a flea market over the weekends. State police are alerted to Mr. K's business and arrest him for selling counterfeit goods. When his case goes to trial, Mr. K is found guilty of the charges and pays a considerable fine. Despite his legal trouble, he finds comfort that he'll still have his teaching career to help pay the bills.
While these cases are fictional, real cases that have been adjudicated by the Pennsylvania Standards and Practices Commission can be accessed by visiting the