In the event a candidate's record indicates a criminal history that may prohibit teacher licensure, the candidate must first meet with the Licensure Officer. Thereafter, the candidate may appeal the findings of the Licensure Officer to the Committee for Selection, Retention and Appeals.
Policy for Appeal of Criminal Background Investigation Findings
Article 21-1 of the School Code of Illinois indicates applicants for teacher licensure must be of good character. Article 10-21.9 and Article 21-23A enumerate certain sex and narcotics offenses that prohibit licensure or employment in the public schools. Any individual with a felony conviction may be denied licensure. Therefore, an individual in Western Illinois University's teacher education program who has been convicted of a felony or any sex, narcotics, or drug offense must contact the Licensure Officer in Horrabin Hall 91 immediately.
A candidate who has been convicted of a felony, a pattern of misdemeanors, or has been forwarded for review by the Judicial Programs Office will be required to have his/her case reviewed prior to continuation in any teacher education program. To qualify for review, at least one year must have elapsed from the termination of the sentence or the end of probation for any felony conviction.
For this review, the candidate will be required to provide evidence of good character and rehabilitation that outweigh the offenses he/she has committed.
Documentation for the review shall include:
- Statement in his/her own words describing the circumstances of the crime.
- Results of the criminal background investigation, copy of the court record of conviction, and report from the WIU Judicial Programs Office.
- Original statements attesting to good character and/or rehabilitation. These could come from employers, civic leaders, college instructors, and others in a position to attest to character and rehabilitation.
- Other information that the candidate believes would help the committee to reach a fair decision.
The Committee for Student Professional Standards will review documentation provided by the candidate. This will be an ad hoc committee appointed by the Dean of the College of Education and Human Services to review each individual case.
The committee will include:
Assistant Dean for Teacher Education
Affirmative Action Officer
University Legal Counsel, ex officio
WIU Judicial Programs Officer, ex officio
Only the candidate shall have the opportunity to address the committee; however, he/she may have legal counsel present.
A candidate who is allowed to continue in the teacher education program, must agree to have the results of the criminal background investigation provided to the district administrator prior to being placed with a school or agency. Furthermore, the candidate will be notified that while he/she will be allowed to proceed in the teacher education program, the final decision regarding teacher licensure will be made by the WIU Licensure Officer and subsequently, the State.