Discipline of Professional Educators

In addition to issuing professional educator licenses for teachers, principals, and other administrators in North Carolina, the State Board of Education is responsible for imposing disciplinary sanctions when a professional educator is found to have engaged in professional misconduct. Policies and procedures involving the investigation of allegations of professional misconduct and the imposition of disciplinary sanctions can be found in SBE Policy LICN-007.

Disciplinary Process and Sanctions

A professional educator can face disciplinary sanctions, up to and including the revocation of the educator’s license, if the SBE finds that the educator has done any of the following:

  1. Engaged in fraud, material misrepresentation, or concealment in an application for the license.
  2. Become ineligible for the license due to changes or corrections in the license documentation.
  3. Been convicted of a crime in any state, federal, or territorial court of the United States, including military tribunals.
  4. Been dismissed by a local board of education, pursuant to G.S. 115C-325(e)(1) or 115C-325.4, or by the governing body of any other public school.
  5. Resigned from employment with a public school without thirty calendar days’ notice, except with the prior consent of the local superintendent.
  6. Had a professional educator license or other occupational license revoked or suspended in North Carolina or another state due to a finding of misconduct by the relevant occupational licensing board or agency.
  7. Failed to report suspected child abuse in accordance with G.S. 115C-400 or other suspicion of professional misconduct by a licensed employee in accordance with state law and SBE policy.
  8. Violated the Testing Code of Ethics, which can be found in SBE Policy TEST-010.
  9. Engaged in any other illegal, unethical, or lascivious conduct, or otherwise violated the Standards of Professional Conduct, which can be found in SBE Policy EVAL-035.

The SBE has delegated its authority related to professional educator licensure, including its authority to suspend or revoke licenses, to the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Superintendent is charged with investigating allegations of conduct by a licensed professional educator that could justify disciplinary sanctions against that educator’s license for the reasons set forth above.

Professional Conduct Advisory Committee

The Professional Conduct Advisory Committee (“Conduct Committee”) is a group of professional educators from across North Carolina—including current teachers, principals, district superintendents, and human resources professionals—who have been appointed by the Superintendent to assist with investigating allegations of professional misconduct by professional educators or applicants for a professional educator license. When a professional educator is reported by a public school employer for serious misconduct, charged with or convicted a serious crime, or otherwise comes to the attention of the Superintendent, the educator may be invited to appear before a panel of the Conduct Committee to discuss the allegations and answer questions. Similarly, whenever an applicant for a professional educator license discloses prior criminal charges or convictions or prior disciplinary action against a professional license, the educator may be invited to appear before a panel to determine whether the disclosed information justifies denial of the application. Meetings of the Conduct Committee are confidential and typically conducted once a month via WebEx.

Required Reporting

Public school administrators are required by law to report certain types of professional misconduct by a licensed employee to the Superintendent (see SBE Policy LICN-007, Section VIII, and G.S. 115C-326.20).

  1. Any public school unit administrator who knows, has reason to believe, or has actual notice of a complaint that a licensee has engaged in conduct that justifies automatic revocation of a license under G.S. 115C-270.35(b); conduct that has resulted in a criminal charge or indictment for any of the crimes listed in G.S. 115C-270.35(b); or conduct involving the physical or sexual abuse of a child or a student, must report the misconduct to the Superintendent within 5 calendar days of the licensee's dismissal, suspension with or without pay, or acceptance of the licensee’s resignation. “Physical abuse” means the infliction of physical injury other than by accident or in self-defense. “Sexual abuse” means any sexual contact with a child or student, regardless of the presence or absence of consent.
  2. If the licensee has been dismissed, demoted, or resigned as a result of conduct that is not covered by the previous provision but that may otherwise justify disciplinary sanctions against the employee under SBE Policy LICN-007, the administrator must report it to the Superintendent within 30 calendar days.

Public school administrators required to report include a superintendent, associate superintendent, assistant superintendent, personnel administrator, principal, school director, or head of school.

All required reports should be submitted using the form below and include any supporting documentation. Under G.S.  115C-13, the SBE is an authorized recipient of confidential personnel records held by local boards of education, their officers, and their employees.

Licensure vs. Employment

The authority of the SBE over professional educators is limited to licensure. With limited exceptions, the SBE does not directly employ professional educators working in North Carolina public schools. Educators are employees of the local board of education or charter school. Concerns regarding an educator’s employment should be directed to the local administrative office. The SBE has no authority over the hiring, promotion, or termination of professional educators employed by a local board of education or charter school.

Licensed Educator Misconduct Report Form