“I’ve been contacted by a PSC investigator who wants me to give him a response by a certain deadline, what do I do?” This is a question we hear from administrators, teachers, and other education professionals all over Georgia on a frequent basis.
Recently, Williams Oinonen LLC represented a teacher facing a revocation of her teaching certificate. The Georgia Professional Standards Commission recommended that the teacher’s certificate be entirely revoked. The Professional Standards Commission was represented by the Attorney General for the State of Georgia and the teacher was represented by Ms. Oinonen. The Judge’s case decision which came out today rejected the recommendation of the PSC to revoke the educator’s certificate and modified it to only give the educator a warning.
When an educator calls to ask: “I’ve been contacted by a PSC investigator who wants me to give him a response by a certain deadline, what do I do?” Ms. Oinonen always recommends educators that they absolutely should not go it alone. Years ago, PSC investigators were made up of former educators. Now, most educators are former law enforcement, former Secret Service, former GBI, or former deputy sheriffs. As a result, calling them really can be like talking to the police when you are accused of a crime, meaning anything you say can be used against you. Ms. Oinonen states: “When facing a PSC charge, educators should not contact the PSC without assistance of legal counsel. Too much is at stake for an educator. Literally what is at stake is your ability to maintain gainful employment by keeping your educator’s license/certification. Thus, it is imperative that you have an attorney who can communicate on your behalf and advise you appropriately in order to help protect your rights.”
All too often educators are contacting our law firm for legal representation after the investigation has been completed and they are facing a recommended sanction such as a revocation or a years long suspension of their education certification. Maintaining one’s certification is required to teach in a public school. If you are an educator facing a PSC ethics charge, know that the Attorney General civilly prosecutes these charges on behalf of the PSC. It is not worth going alone. Getting competent legal advice and representation is essential to protecting your teaching certification. Contact 404-654-0288 for more information.