South Carolina teachers who refuse to return to classroom face risk of losing license

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Teachers in South Carolina who chose not to return to the classrooms this year, due to fears of COVID-19, are facing a big punishment.

The State Board of Education is threatening to take away their teaching license for a year.

Fox 46 obtained a letter sent to a former Fort Mill School District Teacher telling her the board will “meet to make a determination regarding the possible suspension of your South Carolina educator certificate” due to her breach of a contract.

“In the midst of a pandemic, I have a hard time understanding why a district feels the need to suspend a license when they’re just trying to protect their health and their family,” said Patrick Kelly with the Palmetto State Teachers Association.

South Carolina law allows for a teacher’s license to be taken away if they resign in the middle of the year.

But local school districts are allowed to show leniency.

“We’re South Carolina, a military state, we often have teachers resign because a spouse gets deployed,” Kelly said, “In those instances, it’s been my experience that districts show grace, but they don’t go after a license.”

A spokesperson with the Fort Mill School District said he couldn’t comment on personnel matters.

“Ultimately, who loses in that situation is our children. Because we need every qualified teacher we can find right now,” said Kelly.

Tuesday, the teachers union argued in front of the state board that teachers shouldn’t have their license suspended for a year.

It’s not clear when or if the board will make a decision.

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