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Joseph
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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My sister works as a first year teaching in a school district

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My sister works as a first year teaching in a school district in Moreno Valley. She was hired in during November, a bit into the school year as another teacher was leaving. She signed a one-year contract. She is experiencing serve behavioral problems and currently does not feel safe in her classroom. She desires to quit mid-year. In talks with professionals within the district, she has discovered that it is possible for the district to create a case against her for breaking contract early.It's been stated that she could potentially get her credentials revoked by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Is this common practice in California? Is it very typical for teachers to get their credentials revoked just because of leaving a contract early? It seems very extreme. My sister is very unhappy and is exhibiting signs of high stress and depression.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your sister's situation and hope I can help.

It would be somewhat rare for the district to sue her for breach of contract (due to the costs of doing so) by quitting mid-year, specially if she needs to do so due to behavioral problems.

It would be extremely rare for her teaching credentials to be affected by her decision to leave early, and even more rare for her credentials to actually be revoked merely because she is leaving a contract early.

 

The grounds that may be used to revoke her credentials would be the following:

 

•Immoral conduct or indecent behavior
•Incompetency
•Violations of ethical standards
•Unprofessional conduct
•Misrepresentation or fraud
•Willful neglect of duty

 

Her conduct could only possibly be considered unprofessional, but if she gives prior notice of her situation, and first makes an effort with her employer to resolve it, it would be unlikely that her conduct of leaving her contract early would be considered unprofessional.

However, since she does have union representation, she should consider trying to take unpaid sick leave and/or going on disability if she feels that she would feel safe in her classroom in the future if her concerns are addressed.

I would also suggest that she express her concerns with HR to try to work out an arrangement with them if she can possibly save her job, and her reputation along with it.

While her teaching credentials probably wouldn't be affected, her future employment prospects could definitely be affected, since other school districts would likely feel less inclined to extend her contract offers knowing that she left a contract early in the past.

However, if she were to have to leave her job, the legal risks against her, and her teaching credentials are minimal.

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