A complaint was filed with the State Board for Educator Certification by a school district against a teacher. The district alleged that the teacher had abandoned her contract without good cause and asked that sanctions be imposed on her teaching certificate. The teacher requested a hearing regarding the complaint.

At the hearing, the teacher testified that due to conditions at her school, including a lack of resources for students, an unsanitary working environment and intimidation by the administration, she began suffering from stress and anxiety. She requested and received medical leave for two weeks in November due to this stress. After returning to work, she continued to suffer from anxiety and stress. She submitted her resignation on Jan. 15, giving two weeks' notice, and did not return to work after Jan. 31. After she submitted her letter of resignation, she submitted a note from her doctor that stated that her ability to interact with people was difficult and that she needed a month off. She testified that she was never told that she had any alternative options to resigning, such as taking additional time off. After she resigned, she accepted a position as an ESL coordinator with a charter school.

The principal testified that the teacher told him that she was feeling stress, but was not planning to resign. She never requested additional leave after taking the two weeks in November. He stated that he was therefore surprised when he received her letter of resignation of January, following her receipt of a negative evaluation. He testified that her resignation during the middle of the school year placed the district in a difficult position because she was a bilingual teacher, which is often difficult to replace and considered a shortage area.  

The administrative law judge found that the teacher had abandoned her contract without good cause. Although the teacher may have had valid reasons for resigning, she did not make any attempt to determine if she had any additional options, such as additional medical leave. She also made no attempt to obtain the district’s consent to her resignation and simply left her job. This placed a hardship on the school because of the difficulty of finding a qualified replacement for her.

The administrative law judge recommended that the teacher’s certificate be reprimanded. However, the State Board for Educator Certification rejected this recommendation and ordered that the teacher’s certificate be suspended for one year.