Does SBEC run a criminal history check on applicants for certification?
Yes. Texas Education Code § 22.082 provides that "the State Board for Educator Certification shall obtain from any law enforcement or criminal justice agency all criminal history record information that relates to an applicant for or holder of a certificate issued under Subchapter B, Chapter 21." In accordance with this mandate, SBEC conducts a criminal history check on all applicants for certification whether the applicant is applying for a new certificate, a duplicate certificate, additional certification or an emergency permit.
Will a criminal conviction prevent me from getting certified?
That depends. TEA reviews each individual’s criminal history once an application is received, on a case by case basis. Staff will not give an advisory opinion to individual applicants with regards to eligibility for certification based on their self reported criminal history. Once staff has reviewed the applicant’s criminal history obtained as a result of the application process, eligibility for certification will be determined based on consideration of the factors in #3 below.
What kinds of factors does SBEC take into consideration when making the decision about whether or not they should certify someone with a criminal history?
- the nature and seriousness of the crime;
- the relationship of the crime to the purposes that certification is required to become a professional educator;
- the extent to which certification might offer an opportunity to engage in further criminal activity of the same type as that in which the person previously had been involved;
- the relationship of the crime to the ability, capacity, or fitness required to perform the duties of a professional educator;
- the extent of the applicant's past criminal activity;
- the age of the person when the crime was committed;
- the amount of time that has elapsed since the person's last criminal activity;
- the conduct and work activity of the person before and after the criminal activity;
- whether the person has completed the terms of their probation or deferred adjudication;
- evidence of rehabilitation; and
- other evidence, including letters of recommendation.