Teachers and Criminal Charges

While teachers have to go through many requirements for a career in education; for some, criminal records are a common hurdle to overcome. School employees in New Jersey require a criminal background check conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation or State Bureau of Identification through the New Jersey State Police. These laws are complex and can severely damage your future and your career in education, so it is extremely important that you immediately take steps to obtain representation from a criminal defense attorney familiar with school employment disqualification.

Teachers and Criminal Charges
In the News

Recently in the news, an ex-Brick school administrator who failed to reveal his 1990 drug conviction was charged with official misconduct and theft by deception and convicted on drug charges in New York.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed that Andrew J. Morgan, the former interim director of special services for the Brick Township School District, failed to reveal a 1990 conviction on heroin and cocaine charges on his job application with the district. Morgan, 65, was charged along with Brick Schools Superintendent Walter Uszenski and Uszenski’s daughter, Jacqueline Halsey, in a scheme that supplied Halsey with full-time day care for her preschool child, paid for by the Brick Township schools, with official misconduct and theft by deception.

The Law

It is important that anyone working in a school should understand the laws in detail. New Jersey has a few thousand schools and these laws affect teachers, substitute teachers, principals, secretaries, nurses, coaches, cafeteria staff, janitors, landscaping contractors, and many, many more. N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7.1 is the New Jersey Statute regarding criminal records relative to an employee in regular contact with pupils and sets forth the grounds for disqualification from school employment. You should be aware that a criminal records check is a full federal search of crimes, such that even a crime committed in another state may become a disqualification. The first section of the statute provides that anyone convicted of (1) endangering the welfare of children (N.J.S. 2C: 24-4), (2) endangering the welfare of an incompetent person (N.J.S. 2c: 24-7), or (3) resisting arrest or eluding a police officer (N.J.S. 2C: 29-2) will be permanently disqualified for a school position.

Your Defense

Two defense diversionary program options are available to you to prevent a permanent disqualification: a Conditional Discharge and Pre-Trial Intervention. A conditional discharge is a program available to those who do not have a prior drug conviction. Considered a one-time “get out of jail free” pass, under the program, the individual is placed on a period of probation that may be either supervised or unsupervised. If during the period the individual stays clean, the charge will be dismissed and there will be no conviction on record. Pre-trial Intervention (PTI) is used at the New Jersey Superior Court level involving more serious crimes. This program is available to individuals with limited or no criminal history.

Villani & DeLuca P.C.

If you have been charged with a 1st or 2nd degree indictable offense or an enumerated offense and are considering employment in a New Jersey school district or are currently employed at a school, contact the experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyers of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. for a free initial consultation. Call 888-389-9533 today!