License Hearings

Criminal Defense • Disciplinary Investigations & Hearings

Disciplinary Hearings: Moral Character Hearings

New York Moral Character Disciplinary Hearing Defense Lawyer

New York State requires all educators to have good moral character. There are a number of reasons teachers may face questions about their moral character. Some examples include criminal convictions, crimes committed on school property, sale of illegal substances or the physical abuse of a student.

The Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability (OSPRA) receives moral character complaints and investigates allegations against teachers, as well as New York State teaching certificate applicants. The office is responsible for the Education Department’s Teacher Moral Character Unit and the Teacher Tenure Hearing Unit.

Under Part 83 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, school district superintendents are obligated to file a report with the office if they learn a teacher has been convicted of a crime or has engaged in behavior that raises a reasonable question about their moral character. Such complaints are usually filed with OSPRA after the appropriate local authorities — such as school principals and police — have addressed the matter.

After receiving the complaint, OSPRA will investigate the allegations and determine whether disciplinary action is warranted. If the findings indicate a substantial question exists regarding the teacher’s moral character, they will be contacted in writing. The teacher then has 30 days within which to request a formal hearing.

Teachers have the right to attorney representation during a moral character hearing. New York teachers facing such hearings should seek counsel from a knowledgeable attorney who can provide guidance throughout the disciplinary process. Having reliable counsel can make all the difference to one’s professional future.

The attorneys at Brill Legal Group know how to defend against damaging allegations and submit proof of an individual’s good moral character. While evidence of a criminal conviction is allowed in a hearing proceeding, it does not necessarily mean the person under investigation lacks good moral character.

Once the hearing concludes, the Commissioner of Education will determine whether the teacher’s certificate will be suspended or revoked under the good moral character requirement. Other penalties such as fines may also be imposed.

Contact the attorneys at Brill Legal Group. We have experience with disciplinary hearings and know how to obtain the best possible outcome when a teacher finds that their character is being questioned.

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