The following words, terms, and phrases, when used in this
chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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 History for a Certificate
under Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 53, and Texas Education Code,
Chapter 21), 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) Inappropriate relationship--A violation of Texas
Penal Code, §21.12(a); a sexual or romantic relationship with
a student or minor; or solicitation of a sexual or romantic relationship
with a student or minor.
(26) 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).
(27) Invalid--Rendered void; lacking legal or administrative
(28) 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.
(29) Mail--Certified United States mail, return receipt
requested, unless otherwise provided by this chapter.
(30) 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.
(31) 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 History
for a Certificate under Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 53, and Texas
Education Code, Chapter 21); or acts constituting abuse or neglect
under the Texas Family Code, §261.001.
(32) 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.
(33) Party--Each person named or admitted to participate
in a contested case under this chapter.
(34) Permanent revocation--Revocation without the opportunity
to reapply for a new certificate.
(35) 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
(36) Petition--The written pleading served by the petitioner
in a contested case under this chapter.
(37) 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.
(38) 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.
(39) Presiding officer--The chair or acting chair of
the State Board for Educator Certification.
(40) Proposal for decision--A recommended decision
issued by an administrative law judge in accordance with the Texas
Government Code, §2001.062.
(41) 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.
(42) 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 that the result will occur.
(43) Reinstatement--The restoration of a suspended
certificate to valid status by the State Board for Educator Certification.
(44) 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.
(45) 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
(46) 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
(47) 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.
(48) Restricted--The condition of an educator certificate
that has had limitations or conditions on its use imposed by State
Board for Educator Certification order.
(49) Revocation--A sanction imposed by the State Board
for Educator Certification invalidating an educator's certificate.
(50) 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