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TITLE 19EDUCATION
PART 7STATE BOARD FOR EDUCATOR CERTIFICATION
CHAPTER 249DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS, SANCTIONS, AND CONTESTED CASES
SUBCHAPTER AGENERAL PROVISIONS
RULE §249.3Definitions

The following words, terms, and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

  (1) Abuse--Includes the following acts or omissions:

    (A) mental or emotional injury to a student or minor that results in an observable and material impairment in the student's or minor's development, learning, or psychological functioning;

    (B) causing or permitting a student or minor to be in a situation in which the student or minor sustains a mental or emotional injury that results in an observable and material impairment in the student's or minor's development, learning, or psychological functioning;

    (C) physical injury that results in substantial harm to a student or minor, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the student or minor, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline; or

    (D) sexual conduct harmful to a student's or minor's mental, emotional, or physical welfare.

  (2) Administrative denial--A decision or action by the Texas Education Agency staff, acting on behalf of the State Board for Educator Certification, to deny certification (including certification following revocation, cancellation, or surrender of a previously issued certificate), renewal of certification, or reinstatement of a previously suspended certificate based on the withholding or voiding of certification test scores; the invalidation of a certification test registration; evidence of a lack of good moral character; or evidence of improper conduct.

  (3) Administrative law judge--A person appointed by the chief judge of the State Office of Administrative Hearings under the Texas Government Code, Chapter 2003.

  (4) Answer--The responsive pleading filed in reply to factual and legal issues raised in a petition.

  (5) Applicant--A party seeking issuance, renewal, or reinstatement of a certificate from the Texas Education Agency staff or the State Board for Educator Certification.

  (6) Cancellation--The invalidation of an erroneously issued certificate.

  (7) Certificate--The whole or part of any educator credential, license, or permit issued under the Texas Education Code, Chapter 21, Subchapter B. The official certificate is the record of the certificate as maintained on the Texas Education Agency's website.

  (8) Certificate holder--A person who holds an educator certificate issued under the Texas Education Code, Chapter 21, Subchapter B.

  (9) Chair--The presiding officer of the State Board for Educator Certification, elected pursuant to the Texas Education Code, §21.036, or other person designated by the chair to act in his or her absence or inability to serve.

  (10) Chief judge--The chief administrative law judge of the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

  (11) Code of Ethics--The Educators' Code of Ethics codified in Chapter 247 of this title (relating to the Educators' Code of Ethics).

  (12) Complaint--A written statement submitted to the Texas Education Agency staff that contains essential facts alleging improper conduct by an educator, applicant, or examinee, the complainant's verifiable contact information, including full name, complete address, and phone number, which provides grounds for sanctions.

  (13) Contested case--A proceeding under this chapter in which the legal rights, duties, and privileges related to a party's educator certificate are to be determined by the State Board for Educator Certification and/or the State Office of Administrative Hearings commencing when a petition is properly served under this chapter.

  (14) Conviction--An adjudication of guilt for a criminal offense. The term does not include the imposition of deferred adjudication for which the judge has not proceeded to an adjudication of guilt.

  (15) Deferred adjudication--The resolution of a criminal charge, based on a defendant's plea to the offense of guilty or nolo contendere, which results in the suspension of adjudication of the defendant's guilt and the imposition of conditions such as community supervision or restitution, and, upon successful completion of those conditions, the dismissal of the criminal case. In a contested case under this chapter, the defendant's acceptance of deferred adjudication in a criminal case may be considered as provided by the Texas Occupations Code, §53.021.

  (16) Disciplinary proceedings--Any matter arising under this chapter or Chapter 247 of this title (relating to the Educators' Code of Ethics) that results in a final order or finding issued by the Texas Education Agency staff, the State Office of Administrative Hearings, or the State Board for Educator Certification relating to the legal rights, duties, privileges, and status of a party's educator certificate.

  (17) Educator--A person who is required to hold a certificate issued under the Texas Education Code, Chapter 21, Subchapter B.

  (18) Effective date--The date the decision or action taken by the State Board for Educator Certification or the Texas Education Agency staff becomes final under the appropriate legal authority.

  (19) Endanger--Exposure of a student or minor to unjustified risk of injury or to injury that jeopardizes the physical health or safety of the student or minor without regard to whether there has been an actual injury to the student or minor.

  (20) Examinee--A person who registers to take or who takes any examination required by the State Board for Educator Certification for admission to an educator preparation program or to obtain an educator certificate.

  (21) Expired--No longer valid because a specific period or term of validity of a certificate has ended; an expired certificate is not subject to renewal or revalidation and a new certificate must be issued.

  (22) Filing--Any written petition, answer, motion, response, other written instrument, or item appropriately filed under this chapter with the Texas Education Agency staff, the State Board for Educator Certification, or the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

  (23) Good moral character--The virtues of a person as evidenced by patterns of personal, academic, and occupational behaviors that, in the judgment of the State Board for Educator Certification, indicate honesty, accountability, trustworthiness, reliability, and integrity. Lack of good moral character may be evidenced by the commission of crimes relating directly to the duties and responsibilities of the education profession as described in §249.16(b) of this title (relating to Eligibility of Persons with Criminal Convictions for a Certificate under Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 53), or by the commission of acts involving moral turpitude, but conduct that evidences a lack of good moral character is not necessarily limited to such crimes or acts.

  (24) Inactive--Lacking current effectiveness. An inactive certificate does not currently entitle the certificate holder to work as a professional educator in Texas public schools. An inactive certificate is distinguished from a certificate that is void or expired by the fact that it can be reactivated by satisfying the condition or conditions that caused it to be placed in inactive status (failure to renew, failure to submit fingerprint information, or payment of fees), subject to any other certification requirements applicable to active certificates.

  (25) Informal conference--An informal meeting between the Texas Education Agency staff and an educator, applicant, or examinee; such a meeting may be used to give the person an opportunity to show compliance with all requirements of law for the granting or retention of a certificate or test score pursuant to Texas Government Code, §2001.054(c).

  (26) Invalid--Rendered void; lacking legal or administrative efficacy.

  (27) Law--The United States and Texas Constitutions, state and federal statutes, regulations, rules, relevant case law, and decisions and orders of the State Board for Educator Certification and the commissioner of education.

  (28) Mail--Certified United States mail, return receipt requested, unless otherwise provided by this chapter.

  (29) Majority--A majority of the voting members of the State Board for Educator Certification who are present and voting on the issue at the time the vote is recorded.

  (30) Moral turpitude--Improper conduct, including, but not limited to, the following: dishonesty; fraud; deceit; theft; misrepresentation; deliberate violence; base, vile, or depraved acts that are intended to arouse or to gratify the sexual desire of the actor; drug or alcohol related offenses as described in §249.16(b) of this title (relating to Eligibility of Persons with Criminal Convictions for a Certificate under Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 53); or acts constituting abuse or neglect under the Texas Family Code, §261.001.

  (31) Neglect--The placing or leaving of a student or minor in a situation where the student or minor would be exposed to a substantial risk of physical or mental harm.

  (32) Party--Each person named or admitted to participate in a contested case under this chapter.

  (33) Permanent revocation--Revocation without the opportunity to reapply for a new certificate.

  (34) Person--Any individual, representative, corporation, or other entity, including the following: an educator, applicant, or examinee; the Texas Education Agency staff; or the State Board for Educator Certification, the State Office of Administrative Hearings, or any other agency or instrumentality of federal, state, or local government.

  (35) Petition--The written pleading served by the petitioner in a contested case under this chapter.

  (36) Petitioner--The party seeking relief, requesting a contested case hearing under this chapter, and having the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence in any contested case hearing or proceeding under this chapter.

  (37) Physical mistreatment--Any act of unreasonable or offensive touching that would be offensive to a reasonable person in a similar circumstance. It is an affirmative defense that any unreasonable or offensive touching was justified under the circumstances, using a reasonable person standard.

  (38) Presiding officer--The chair or acting chair of the State Board for Educator Certification.

  (39) Proposal for decision--A recommended decision issued by an administrative law judge in accordance with the Texas Government Code, §2001.062.

  (40) Quorum--A majority of the 14 members appointed to and serving on the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) pursuant to the Texas Education Code, §21.033; eight SBEC members, including both voting and non-voting members, as specified in the SBEC Operating Policies and Procedures.

  (41) Recklessly--An educator acts recklessly, or is reckless, with respect to circumstances surrounding his or her conduct or the results of his or her conduct when he or she is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur.

  (42) Reinstatement--The restoration of a suspended certificate to valid status by the State Board for Educator Certification.

  (43) Reported criminal history--Information concerning any formal criminal justice system charges and dispositions. The term includes, without limitation, arrests, detentions, indictments, criminal informations, convictions, deferred adjudications, and probations in any state or federal jurisdiction.

  (44) Representative--A person representing an educator, applicant, or examinee in matters arising under this chapter; in a contested case proceeding before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Texas or other person authorized as a party representative under SOAH rules.

  (45) Reprimand--The State Board for Educator Certification's formal censuring of a certificate holder.

    (A) An "inscribed reprimand" is a formal, published censure appearing on the face of the educator's virtual certificate.

    (B) A "non-inscribed reprimand" is a formal, unpublished censure that does not appear on the face of the educator's virtual certificate.

  (46) Respondent--The party who contests factual or legal issues or both raised in a petition; the party filing an answer in response to a petition.

  (47) Restricted--The condition of an educator certificate that has had limitations or conditions on its use imposed by State Board for Educator Certification order.

  (48) Revocation--A sanction imposed by the State Board for Educator Certification invalidating an educator's certificate.

  (49) Sanction--A disciplinary action by the State Board for Educator Certification, including a restriction, reprimand, suspension, revocation of a certificate, or a surrender in lieu of disciplinary action.

Cont'd...

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