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Tenured teachers in New York state are subject to termination for “just cause” under New York Education Law §3020. 

Through the 3020-a hearing, they may challenge any disciplinary action filed and defend the right to retain their position. 

What is at stake

If a New York state school initiates disciplinary action against a tenured educator, the teacher is at risk of facing suspension without pay or losing his or her position altogether. The state may also revoke the educator’s teaching license and the incident will damage his or her professional integrity. 

What to expect

The school district must serve a Notice of Determination of Probable Cause on the teacher together with a copy of Education Law §3020. In response, the teacher has 10 days in which to request a hearing or waive the right to a hearing. The law outlines certain other rights of tenured teachers, including: 

  • Reasonable opportunity to mount a defense including the ability to testify on his or her behalf, although the teacher is not required to testify 
  • The right to legal counsel 
  • The right to subpoena witnesses and engage in cross-examination 
  • The right to request a copy of the hearing record 

What to do next

There are several forms associated with Education Law §3020 and teachers can rely on legal assistance to ensure that they understand how to complete and submit the forms ahead of a 3020-a hearing. Time is of the essence. If an educator receives a notice of disciplinary action from the school district, he or she should not delay in meeting the requirements for a response so that a proper defense can get underway.