In a previous post, we began looking at Minnesota tenure law and the protections it does—and does not—offer teachers in this state. As we noted last time, tenure does provide educators with due process, but it does not bar the possibility of termination when a school district has adequate grounds for termination.
In some cases, immediate termination of a teacher is possible. There are a variety of grounds provided in MN law for immediate discharge, but all of them are naturally serious. Before we look at these grounds, though, it is important to note that state law provides that a teacher must be given notice both for discharge at the end of the school year and for immediate discharge.
In terms of the grounds for immediate discharge, state law includes the following:
- Immoral conduct
- Conviction of a felony
- Conduct deemed “unbecoming a teacher” and which requires immediate removal from the classroom
- Failure to correct “gross inefficiency” after reasonable written notice
- Willful neglect of duty
- Continuing physical or mental disability, in some circumstances
Even in cases of immediate discharge, a teacher still has the opportunity to request a hearing before the board. In addition, there are rules in place regarding salary reimbursement or compensation. Of particular importance is that the board must reimburse the teacher for salary and compensation withheld if there is no final decision to suspend, terminate or discharge the teacher.
Teaching is a difficult job, and having your license threatened can be a very stressful experience. Having an advocate in the hearing process is important to ensure that a teacher isn’t left unprepared and unfairly intimidated into resignation. It can also help a teacher to put forward the best possible case.