Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 49: Education

Chapter 5: Personnel

Part 5: Teachers' Tenure

TCA 49-5-501: Part definitions.

As used in this part, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Abolition of position" means a regular bona fide elimination of a position for sufficient, just and nondiscriminatory reasons;

(2) "Board" means the local board of education holding jurisdiction in its respective territory. In the event that a school system operates without a board of education, the authority that performs the functions usually performed by a board shall be indicated by the word "board";

(3) "Conduct unbecoming to a member of the teaching profession" may consist of, but not be limited to, one (1) or more of the following:

(A) Immorality;

(B) Conviction of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude;

(C) Dishonesty, unreliability, continued willful failure or refusal to pay one's just and honest debts;

(D) Disregard of the teacher code of ethics in part 10 of this chapter, in such manner as to make one obnoxious as a member of the profession; or

(E) Improper use of narcotics or intoxicants;

(4) "Director of schools" refers to the local director of schools, or to any other officer performing the functions of a director of schools;

(5) "Incompetence" means being incapable, lacking adequate power, capacity or ability to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the position. This may apply to physical, mental, educational, emotional or other personal conditions. It may include lack of training or experience, evident unfitness for service, a physical, mental or emotional condition making the teacher unfit to instruct or associate with children or the inability to command respect from subordinates or to secure cooperation of those with whom the teacher must work;

(6) "Inefficiency" means being below the standards of efficiency maintained by others currently employed by the board for similar work, or habitually tardy, inaccurate or wanting in effective performance of duties. The definition of inefficiency includes, but is not limited to, having evaluations demonstrating an overall performance effectiveness level that is "below expectations" or "significantly below expectations" as provided in the evaluation guidelines adopted by the state board of education pursuant to SC 49-1-302;

(7) "Insubordination" may consist of:

(A) Refusal or continued failure to obey the school laws of this state, to comply with the rules and regulations of the board or to carry out specific assignments made by the board, the director of schools or the principal, each acting within its own jurisdiction, when the rules, regulations and assignments are reasonable and not discriminatory;

(B) Failure to participate in an in-service training program as set up by the local board of education and approved by the state board of education;

(C) Treason, or any effort to sabotage or overthrow the government of the United States; or

(D) Refusal by the teacher to disclose to the board whether or not the teacher is, or has been, a member of the communist or any other party that advocates the overthrow of the government;

(8) "Neglect of duty" means gross or repeated failure to perform duties and responsibilities that reasonably can be expected of one in such capacity or continued unexcused or unnecessary absence from duty;

(9) "Probation" is a condition and period of trial during which a teacher is under observation to determine the teacher's fitness for tenure status;

(10) "Teacher" includes teachers, supervisors, principals, director of schools and all other certificated personnel employed by any local board of education, for service in public, elementary and secondary schools in this state, supported in whole or in part by state or federal funds;

(11) "Tenure" is the employment status other than probation that a teacher may be under while teaching in the public schools. A teacher has no property right in the teacher's tenure status and must sustain a specified performance effectiveness level on evaluations, as provided in this part, to achieve and maintain tenure status. If a teacher acquires tenure, the teacher shall remain under that status until such time as the teacher resigns, retires, is dismissed or the teacher is returned to probationary status by the director of schools under this part. No teacher who acquired tenure status prior to July 1, 2011, shall be returned to probationary status. No teacher, including administrative and supervisory personnel, who has acquired tenure status is entitled to any specific position; and

(12) "Transfer" means removal from one (1) position to another position under jurisdiction of the same board.

History: Acts 1951, ch. 76, SC 1 (Williams, SC 2345.1); Acts 1955, ch. 343, SC 1; 1974, ch. 654, SCSC 74-76; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), SC 49-1401; Acts 2010, ch. 916, SC 2; 2011, ch. 70, SCSC 4, 5.