For those who wish to begin a career in teaching in Arizona, the state has established a very detailed and extensive process by which to determine whether teaching candidates have committed past criminal acts that may reflect poor character and/or may have harmed or endangered others, especially children. For this reason, teaching candidates must undergo fingerprinting and receive a criminal background clearance.
While a candidate with no criminal background would likely be granted clearance with no difficulty, there are certain offenses, which would automatically preclude a candidate from receiving clearance and still others for which a candidate must receive a good cause exception in order to be approved for clearance. Under Arizona Statute §41-1758. 03, offenses that would preclude a teacher candidate from receiving fingerprint clearance are: 1) Sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult,
2) Incest, 3) First or second degree murder, 4) Sexual assault, 5) Sexual exploitation of a minor, 6) Sexual exploitation of a vulnerable adult, 7) Commercial sexual exploitation of a minor, 8) Commercial sexual exploitation of a vulnerable adult, 9) Child prostitution as prescribed in section 13-3212, 10) Child abuse, 11) Abuse of a vulnerable adult, 12) Sexual conduct with a minor, 13) Molestation of a child, 14) Molestation of a vulnerable adult, 15) A dangerous crime against children as defined in section 13-604.
01, 16) Exploitation of minors involving drug offenses, 17) Taking a child for the purposes of prostitution as prescribed in section 13-3206, 18) Neglect or abuse of a vulnerable adult. 19) Sex trafficking, 20) Sexual abuse, 21) Production, publication, sale, possession and presentation of obscene items as prescribed in section 13-3502, 22) Furnishing harmful items to minors as prescribed in section 13-3506, 23) Furnishing harmful items to minors by internet activity as prescribed in section 13-3506.
01, 24) Obscene or indecent telephone communications to minors for commercial purposes as prescribed in section 13-3512, 25) Luring a minor for sexual exploitation, 26) Enticement of persons for purposes of prostitution, 27) Procurement by false pretenses of person for purposes of prostitution, 28) Procuring or placing persons in a house of prostitution, 29) Receiving earnings of a prostitute, 30) Causing one’s spouse to become a prostitute, 31) Detention of persons in a house of prostitution for debt, 32) Keeping or residing in a house of prostitution or employment in prostitution, 33) Pandering, 34) Transporting persons for the purpose of prostitution, polygamy and concubinage, 35) Portraying adult as a minor as prescribed in section 13-3555, and 36) Admitting minors to public displays of sexual conduct as prescribed in section 13-3558. Teacher candidates who are awaiting trial or those who have been convicted of committing or attempting, soliciting, facilitating, or conspiring to commit one of the following offenses in Arizona, or a similar offense in another jurisdiction, are precluded from receiving fingerprint clearance. These candidates may, however, petition the board for a good cause exception. The applicable offenses are: 1) Manslaughter, 2) Endangerment, 3) Threatening or intimidating, 4) Assault, 5) Unlawfully administering intoxicating liquors, narcotic drugs or dangerous drugs, 6) Assault by vicious animals,
7) Drive by shooting, 8) Assaults on officers or fire fighters, 9) Discharging a firearm at a structure, 10) Indecent exposure, 11) Public sexual indecency, 12) Aggravated criminal damage, 13) Theft, 14) Theft by extortion, 15) Shoplifting, 16) Forgery, 17) Criminal possession of a forgery device, 18) Obtaining a signature by deception, 19) Criminal impersonation, 20) Theft of a credit card or obtaining a credit card by fraudulent means, 21) Receipt of anything of value obtained by fraudulent use of a credit card, 22) Forgery of a credit card, 23) Fraudulent use of a credit card, 24) Possession of any machinery, plate or other contrivance or incomplete credit card, 25) False statement as to financial condition or identity to obtain a credit card, 26) Fraud by persons authorized to provide goods or services, 27) Credit card transaction record theft, 28) Misconduct involving weapons, 29) Misconduct involving explosives, 30) Depositing explosives, 31) Misconduct involving simulated explosive devices, 32) Concealed weapon violation,
33) Possession and sale of peyote, 34) Possession and sale of a vapor-releasing substance containing a toxic substance, 35) Sale of precursor chemicals, 36) Possession, use or sale of marijuana, dangerous drugs or narcotic drugs, 37) Manufacture or distribution of an imitation controlled substance, 38) Manufacture or distribution of an imitation prescription-only drug, 39) Manufacture or distribution of an imitation over-the-counter drug, 40) Possession or possession with intent to use an imitation controlled substance, 41) Possession or possession with intent to use an imitation prescription-only drug, 42) Possession or possession with intent to use an imitation over-the-counter drug,
43) Manufacture of certain substances and drugs by certain means, 44) Adding poison or other harmful substance to food, drink or medicine, 45) A criminal offense involving criminal trespass and burglary under title 13, chapter 15, 46) A criminal offense under title 13, chapter 23, 47) Child neglect, 48) Misdemeanor offenses involving contributing to the delinquency of a minor, 49) Offenses involving domestic violence, 50) Arson, 51) Kidnapping, 52) Felony offenses involving sale, distribution or transportation of, offer to sell, transport or distribute or conspiracy to sell, transport or distribute marijuana, dangerous drugs or narcotic drugs, 53) Robbery, 54) Aggravated assault, 55) Felony offenses involving contributing to the delinquency of a minor, 56) Negligent homicide,
57) Criminal damage, 58) Misappropriation of charter school monies as prescribed in section 13-1818, 59) Taking identity of another person or entity, 60) Aggravated taking identity of another person or entity, 61) Trafficking in the identity of another person or entity, 62) Cruelty to animals, 63) Prostitution, 64) Sale or distribution of material harmful to minors through vending machines as prescribed in section 13-3513, and 65) Welfare fraud. Prior to 2003, there was a two tier approval system in Arizona, in which there was a Class 1 fingerprint clearance card and a Class 2 fingerprint clearance card. As of October1, 2003, the two tier system was eliminated. Applicants under the new system must meet criminal history requirements under Class one (described in first paragraph above), unless they have obtained a good cause exception. For those who are denied clearance, there is an appeals process in place. The process is illustrated in the chart below: