If you are arrested for a crime, you may still be eligible to teach in Pennsylvania, depending on the nature of the crime. Title 24 of the Pennsylvania School Code section 1-111 enumerates the offenses for which persons are ineligible to teach:
No person subject to this act shall be employed or remain employed in a public or private school, intermediate unit or area vocational-technical school where a report of criminal history record information or a form submitted by an employee under subsection (j) indicates the person has been convicted of any of the following offenses:
criminal homicide, aggravated assault, stalking, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure, rape, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, institutional sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, indecent exposure, sexual intercourse with animal, incest, concealing death of child, endangering welfare of children, dealing in infant children, felony offense under section 5902(b) prostitution and related offenses, obscene and other sexual materials and performances, corruption of minors, sexual abuse of children, unlawful contact with minor, solicitation of minors to traffic drugs, and sexual exploitation of children.
The provision then goes on to add a:
- 10 year prohibition for prospective employees after a felony conviction other than those listed above
- 5 year prohibition for prospective employees after a misdemeanor conviction of the first degree; and
- 3 year prohibition for prospective employees after conviction more than once of an offense related to driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree.
To read the statute in full visit:
For more information about how a DUI might affect your ability to teach visit:
A current teacher or a prospective teacher who willfully fails to “disclose a conviction or an arrest for an offense enumerated under this section shall be subject to discipline” which may include termination or criminal prosecution.
If you answer yes to any of the questions on the background check or possibly based on other information, then you will be subject to a good moral character review. The review focuses on several factors: nature of the conduct, applicant’s attitude toward the conduct, and the applicant’s rehabilitative efforts. For more information on these factors, visit: https://www.education.pa.gov/Educators/Certification/CertFAQs/Pages/GoodMoral.aspx
If you have a misdemeanor or felony conviction, the Board of Education also requires you to submit:
- Current (dated within one year of the date of application) FBI clearance
- Current (dated within one year of the date of application) PA criminal background check
- Certified court documents
- Letter of status from probation/parole officer
- Current PA Child Abuse Clearance
Finally, regardless of whether the above rules prohibit someone’s employment as a teacher, the school may have the right to fire or refuse to hire a teacher convicted of other criminal offenses. Someone facing this situation should definitely consult with a qualified lawyer who is familiar with these issues.