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Legal Memorandum: Revocation of Teaching Certificate

Issue: Is the sanction of revoking administrator and principal/supervisor certificates for an inappropriate relationship with a student too harsh or fundamentally unfair?

Area of Law: Administrative Law, Administrative Law & Regulation (Federal and State)
Keywords: Revocation of Teacher's certificate; Inappropriate student relationship; Discipline of a teacher
Jurisdiction: Federal, New Jersey
Cited Cases: 90 N.J. 550
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 11/01/2009

Discipline of a teacher may not be grossly disproportionate or patently “shocking to one’s sense of fairness.” In Re Polk, 90 N.J. 550, 578 (1982) TA l "In Re Polk, 90 N.J. 550, 578 (1982)" s "In Re Polk, 90 N.J. 550, 578 (1982)" c 1 . 

A failure to appreciate the line between personal and professional relationships has warranted punishment less severe punishment than revocation.  For example, in In re Certificate of Zantow, Dkt. No. EDE 459-07 (OAL Apr. 14, 2008) TA l "In Re the Certificate of Zantow, Dkt. No. EDE 459-07 (OAL Apr. 14, 2008)" s "In Re the Certificate of Zantow, Dkt. No. EDE 459-07 (OAL Apr. 14, 2008)" c 1 , a teacher resigned when faced with tenure charges, only to have Petitioner’s conduct considered by the Board for revocation. Zantow used inappropriate, sexually suggestive and homosexual language on several occasions to Petitioner’s students in class. Rather than revoke the teacher’s certificates, the OAL imposed a lesser suspension, ruling: “[t]Petitioner line between teacher and friend should be rigorously enforced. Zantow crossed that line by engaging in banter that had a sexual connotation. It is acknowledged that Petitioner was a proficient teacher. But Petitioner’s lack of judgment, reflected in the comments to all four students, justifies disciplinary action.”

Similarly, in In re Certificates of Mangan, Dkt. No. EDE 6992-02 (OAL Nov. 4, 2005) TA l "In Re the Certificates of Mangan, Dkt. No. EDE […]

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