Jonas Silverio resigned as Firebaugh High School’s principal on June 30th when his teaching credentials were suspended due to pending criminal charges. Silverio is set to be arraigned at the Compton Superior Court on August 11th. If convicted of any of the alleged 17 counts of lewd conduct with a minor, the state will turn the temporary suspension into a lifetime revocation.
What’s particularly noteworthy about this case is the fact that Silverio had a 1995 conviction for the same offense, yet has been teaching ever since. This is because the laws have changed since he applied for his credentials in 1998. Prior to that, the fact that a California court had expunged a conviction allowed an individual to obtain or maintain teaching credentials. Today, a conviction for an offense like that would result in an automatic denial / revocation.
But with respect to other types of offenses, the law is more complicated. Before the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing will suspend / revoke / deny teaching credentials based on criminal charges, it must evaluate whether or not the offense renders the applicant / credential holder “unfit to teach”. In order to answer that question, it looks to a variety of factors, including (but not limited to): impact on conduct of students, extenuating or aggravating circumstances, and likelihood of recurrence.
Silverio is currently being held at Men’s Central Jail in Downtown Los Angeles on $1 million bail.