Can I Become a Teacher in MA if I Have a Criminal Record?

People make mistakes. If a past mistake resulted in a criminal record, you may be worried about how it might affect your chances of getting a certain job. Some fields, especially those that involve working with children, are especially thorough when it comes to background checks. If you are considering becoming a teacher, it would be wise to do some research on how a past criminal conviction may impact your chances. The information below may provide answers to some of your questions. If you still have questions after reading this post, a Boston defense lawyer can help you determine how to move forward.

Which Crimes are Showstoppers?

Here’s the thing – it’s not usually the criminal record itself that prevents you from getting a job, but the nature of the underlying offense. A misdemeanor offense from years ago can likely be explained away, but a sexual abuse conviction, for example, is another story. Local school districts hire teachers, and those districts must adhere to state regulations when it comes to teacher certification and hiring guidelines. With regard to Massachusetts, the offenses below will either seriously impact your ability to become a teacher in this state, or they will disqualify you altogether:

  • First and second-degree felonies: These are generally serious crimes, and school districts will consider them seriously. If the felony occurred a long time ago, and it wasn’t of a sexual or violent nature, it is possible that a solid explanation can pave the way to a teaching job. But you may have an uphill climb, to say the least.
  • Sexual Offenses: These are likely to be showstoppers. Teachers deal with children on a daily basis, and a person who has a history of sexual offenses may not be the best candidate for this type of position. Even if your crime wasn’t against a child, a sexual offense will almost certainly disqualify you from becoming a teacher in MA.
  • Offenses that endangered others: If you have been convicted of an endangerment offense (anything that put the safety or lives of others in jeopardy), you will probably not being writing your name on a blackboard in MA anytime soon.
  • Drug offenses: Here, again, the underlying offense is the determining factor. If you were busted smoking pot 10 years ago, you’ll probably be off the hook if your record has remained clear since. But if you were convicted of heroin possession with the intent to sell three years ago, chances are you’re not going to be called back for a second interview.

There are ways to get a teaching position with a criminal record. And there are ways to get certain past convictions expunged (cleared from your record entirely). A MA criminal defense attorney can help you determine if expungement is an option for you.

The following statement was taken from the website of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:

“A criminal record will not automatically disqualify an individual from licensure

by the Department. Rather, the Department will make determinations of an

individual’s suitability based on CORI checks conducted consistent with this

policy, with licensure standards adopted by the Board of Education, and with any

other applicable law or regulations.”

Altman & Altman, LLP – Top Criminal Defense Law Firm in MA

If you have been charged with any type of criminal offense, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. Sometimes past mistakes are just that, mistakes. Unfortunately, some of those mistakes can haunt you for a lifetime. That’s why it is so important to consult with an experienced defense attorney the moment you find yourself in hot water. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we have an impressive track record of getting clients’ charges reduced, or dismissed altogether. If you are facing any type of criminal charge, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.










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