Statement of Good Moral Character
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (Form PDE 338 C) requires that . . .
"The endorsing signature of designated certification officer confirms that the candidate is known and regarded by the preparing institution as a person of good moral character and possesses those personal qualities and professional knowledge and skill which warrant issuance of the requested certificate."
For purposes of the Messiah College Teacher Education Program, good moral character is defined as compliance with all requirements of the Messiah College Good Moral Character Policy. The Messiah College Teacher Education Committee is the governance body charged with administering this policy.
A student must meet all the requirements stated below to be eligible for the following:
- Admission to the Messiah College Teacher Education Program.
- Retention in the Messiah College Teacher Education Program.
- Admission to the Professional Semester (including student teaching).
- Messiah College endorsement for teacher certification to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Students should also be aware that they may be prohibited from obtaining Pennsylvania teacher certification and/or teaching in Pennsylvania public schools if they have been convicted of certain crimes.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education thoroughly reviews records of all misdemeanors or felonies which appear in a student's criminal history clearance. Certification applications may be approved or denied following this review. An appeal process is available in the case of an application denial. Each school district may exercise its discretion to deny employment to an individual due to a criminal history including a felony, misdemeanor, or summary offense. An applicant, then, could be approved for certification by the Department of Education but denied employment by a school district.
Eligibility for Field-Based Coursework
Eligibility for entrance and continued enrollment in any Teacher Education Program field-based course may be revoked immediately for a violation of the Messiah College Good Moral Character Policy. In addition, students who violate the policy and are currently enrolled in a Teacher Education Program field-based course may immediately be withdrawn from the course. A WP or WF will be the grade given if the student withdraws after the semester's final date for withdrawal. A student who has been found to have violated the policy may enroll in a field-based course only with the approval of the Teacher Education Committee, with input from the Director of Teacher Education, the student's department, and the Community Development Office.
Good Moral Character Requirements:
- Satisfactory supporting recommendations from faculty, academic department, administrators, and/or supervisors, as outlined in the Teacher Education Handbook
- Satisfactory Pennsylvania Act 34 and 33/151 criminal history clearances (including satisfactory FBI clearance required for all nonresidents of Pennsylvania) performed at the time of admission to the Teacher Education Program.
- Signed statements by students prior to all field experiences that require admission to the Teacher Education Program and the professional semester attesting to no criminal offenses since admission to the Teacher Education Program. Students also must provide a signed statement at the time they apply for a Pennsylvania teaching certificate (Form PDE 338G) that discloses any record of criminal convictions or pending criminal charges.
- Academic and disciplinary records reflecting behaviors consistent with the Community Covenant of Messiah College (reportable infractions are listed below). A student whose academic or disciplinary record documents a substantial disregard for the rights of others, to include any police record of having violated federal, state, or local laws (e.g., discriminatory, coercive, abusive or exploitative behavior, including sexual or racial harassment) and/or a lack of integrity (e.g., severe or repeated incidents of academic or other personal dishonesty) will be regarded as having failed to satisfy this requirement.
Infractions listed below for which Teacher Education students have been found responsible will be reported to the Director of Teacher Education by the Registrar or Office of CommunitIy Development. A subcommittee of the Teacher Education Committee will review reported incidents and determine a course of action for the student involved.
Any violation of the Academic Integrity Policy published in the current Messiah College Student Handbook. Violations of the Academic Integrity Policy include (but may not be limited to) the following offenses: plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, misrepresentation of academic records, facilitating academic dishonesty, computer offenses, unfair advantage.
Community Development Infractions
A finding of responsibility by the Messiah College disciplinary process or an arrest by an off-campus police agency for any of the following offenses:
- Underage drinking
- Discriminatory behavior: racial, gender
- Harassment behavior: abusive, sexual
- Personal dishonesty: stealing and/or theft of services
- Possession and/or use of illegal drugs
- Campus possession of college-banned weapons, for ex. firearms
- Willful destruction of property
- Initiating bomb scares and/or false fire alarms
- Other incidents as identified by the Dean of Students.
A student who fails to satisfy the requirements of this policy will not be approved for admission to, retention in, or endorsement for a teacher certification program. The Teacher Education Committee is responsible for determining compliance with this policy, and may consider particular circumstances of student violations, including a student's prompt self-report of the violation, and any remedial effort made by the student.
Any student deemed by the Teacher Education Committee to fail to satisfy the good moral character criteria may appeal within ten days of the Teacher Education Committee's decision to the Provost, who shall render a final written determination within ten days of receiving the appeal.
- Messiah College Catalog
- Messiah College Student Handbook
- Messiah College Teacher Education Handbook
- The "Code of Conduct for Educators," Pennsylvania Teacher Certification Law, Ch. 235 (P. L. 397, No. 141, 12-12-1973).
- Pennsylvania Public Official and Employee Ethics Law (P.L. 883, No. 170, 10-4-1978)
- Pennsylvania Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act (P.L. 233, No. 64, 4-14-1972)
- Pennsylvania Act 34 of 1985, Amendment to the Pennsylvania School Code of 1949.
- Pennsylvania Act 33/151 Child Abuse History Clearance, DOMESTIC RELATIONS CODE, P.L. 1292, No. 151, 1994.
Approved by Education Department (February 3, 1998)
Approved by the Teacher Education Committee (February 5, 1998)
Revised and approved by the Teacher Education Committee (August 27, 2004)