This guide was created for those who have questions regarding becoming a teacher in NJ with a criminal record. As part of the Certification process, the New Jersey Department of Education will conduct a Criminal History Review. The Criminal History Review Unit will conduct a background check of applicants for positions in New Jersey’s public and private schools through the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Criminal background checks are required in New Jersey for anyone working in a school. This includes school employee, teachers, substitute teachers, principals, secretaries, nurses, cafeteria staff, coaches, janitors, etc.).
N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7.1 lists those criminal records that, if revealed during the Criminal History Review process, would permanently disqualify an individual from being eligible for employment within the public school system. These offenses include:
- All first or second degree crimes;
- Sexual Offenses;
- Child Abuse;
- Sexual Offenses or child molestation as set forth in 2C:14-1 et seq.;
- Endangering the welfare of a child or incompetent as set forth in 2C:P24-4 and 2C:24-7;
- An offense involving the manufacture, transportation, sale, possession, distribution or habitual use of a “controlled dangerous substance” as defined in the “Comprehensive Drug Reform Act of 1987,” N.J.S.2C:35-1 et al. or “drug paraphernalia” as defined pursuant to N.J.S.2C:36-1 et seq.; or
- A crime involving the use of force or the threat of force to or upon a person or property including, but not limited to, robbery, aggravated assault, stalking, kidnapping, arson, manslaughter and murder;
- A crime as set forth in Chapter 39 of Title 2C (Weapons);
- A third degree crime as set forth in Chapter 20 of Title 2C (Theft);
- Recklessly endangering another person as set forth in N.J.S.2C:12-2;
- Terroristic threats as set forth in N.J.S.2C:12-3;
- Criminal restraint as set forth in N.J.S.2C:13-2;
- Luring, enticing child into motor vehicle, structure or isolated area as set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:13-6;
- Causing or risking widespread injury or damage as set forth in N.J.S.2C:17-2;
- Criminal mischief as set forth in N.J.S.2C:17-3;
- Burglary as set forth in N.J.S.2C:18-2;
- Usury as set forth in N.J.S.2C:21-19;
- Threats and other improper influence as set forth in N.J.S.2C:27-3;
- Perjury and false swearing as set forth in N.J.S.2C:28-3;
- Resisting arrest as set forth in N.J.S.2C:29-2;
- Escape as set forth in N.J.S.2C:29-5; and
- Conspiracy to commit or an attempt to commit any of the crimes described above.
Thus, anyone convicted of any of the above offenses will be permanently disqualified from a school position and will be unable to obtain Certification from the New Jersey Department of Education.
Expungement of Your Arrest Record
If you are able to expunge your criminal record, you should do so as soon as possible. Once expunged, the Department of Education cannot rely on the record to permanently disqualify you.
You should be aware, however, that some of the criminal offenses mentioned above, particularly the more serious ones, are ineligible for expungement. These offenses include sexual assault, child molestation, robbery, kidnapping, murder, etc. A complete list of the offenses that are ineligible for expungement in New Jersey can be found at N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(b).
The Effect of Expungement
Once an offense has been successfully expunged from your record, as a teacher you are no longer required to disclose the expunged offense on any job applications. Moreover, if the Criminal History Review process by the Department of Education reveals convictions for crimes that are not disqualifying, you should be aware that the Department of Education cannot disclose those convictions to any employing educational facilities. This is because the Privacy Act prohibits the Department of Education from disclosing criminal history information to an employing entity.
New Jersey Expungement Lawyers
If you have further questions about becoming a teacher in NJ with a criminal record, contact the New Jersey expungement lawyers at Katherine O’Brien Law today for a free consultation.
At Katherine O’Brien Law, we focus on criminal record expungements. We also offer criminal record expungements starting at just $695 (all inclusive). Thus, by retaining our firm to represent you on your expungement, you can rest assured that you are obtaining the highest quality expungement services at the lowest price.
Call us today for a free consultation!