The County Board of Education and County Superintendent of Schools expect all employees to exercise good judgment and maintain professional standards and ethical boundaries when interacting with students. Below are the sections from Board Policy 4119.21 Professional Standards that apply specifically to employee interactions with pupils. Links to the complete Board Policy documents are also provided for reference.
Board Policy 4119.21 Professional Standards
Staff Conduct with Students
The County Board of Education and County Superintendent of Schools expect all employees to exercise good judgment and maintain professional standards and ethical boundaries when interacting with students both on and off school property, and at either sanctioned or nonsanctioned events and activities. Inappropriate employee conduct shall include, but not be limited to,
- Engaging in any conduct that endangers students, staff, or others, including, but not limited to, physical violence, threats of violence, or possession of a firearm or other weapon
- Engaging in harassing or discriminatory behavior towards students, parents/guardians, staff, or community members, or failing or refusing to intervene when an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying against a student is observed
- Physically abusing, sexually abusing, neglecting, or otherwise willfully harming or injuring a child
- Engaging in inappropriate socialization or fraternization with a student or soliciting, encouraging, or maintaining an inappropriate written, verbal, electronic, or physical relationship with a student
- Possessing or viewing any pornography on school grounds, or possessing or viewing child pornography or other imagery portraying children in a sexualized manner at any time
- Using profane, obscene, or abusive language against students, parents/guardians, staff, or community members
- Willfully disrupting County Office of Education or school operations by loud or unreasonable noise or other action
- Using tobacco, alcohol, or an illegal or unauthorized substance, or possessing or distributing any controlled substance, while in the workplace or at a school-sponsored activity
- Dishonesty with students, parents/guardians, staff, or members of the public, including, but not limited to, falsification of information in employment records or other school records
- Divulging confidential information about students, County Office of Education employees, or County Office of Education operations to persons not authorized to receive the information
- Using County Office of Education equipment or other County Education resources for the employee’s own commercial purposes or for political activities
- Using County Office of Education equipment or communications devices for personal purposes while on duty, except in an emergency, during scheduled work breaks, or for personal necessity
Employees shall be notified that computer files and all electronic communications, including, but not limited to, email and voice mail, are not private. To ensure proper use, the Superintendent or designee may monitor employee usage of County Office of Education technological resources at any time without the employee’s consent.
- Causing damage to or engaging in theft of property belonging to students, staff, or the County Office of Education
- Wearing inappropriate attire
For purposes of this policy, the term “electronic relationship” includes engaging with students through any electronic means including but not limited to, telephone conversations, voice mail messages, text messages, e-mails, instant messages, and communication through internet social networking sites or other online means.
An employee who observes or has evidence of inappropriate conduct between another employee and a student shall immediately report such conduct to the site administrator or County Superintendent or designee. An employee who has knowledge of or suspects child abuse or neglect shall file a report pursuant to the County Office of Education’s child abuse reporting procedures as detailed in AR 5141.4 – Child Abuse Prevention and Reporting.
Any reports of employee misconduct shall be promptly investigated. Any employee who is found to have engaged in inappropriate conduct in violation of law or Board policy shall be subject to disciplinary action and, in the case of a certificated employee, may be subject to a report to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The Superintendent or designee shall notify local law enforcement as appropriate.
Any employee who is found to have engaged in inappropriate conduct with a student in violation law or this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
The County Office of Education prohibits retaliation against anyone who files a complaint against an employee or reports an employee’s inappropriate conduct. Any employee who retaliates against any such complainant, reporter, or other participant in the County Office of Education’s complaint process shall be subject to discipline.
Board Policy 4119.21 Exhibit: Rules of Conduct for Professional Educators
Principle I. Commitment to the Student
The educator strives to help each student realize his/her potential as a worthy and effective member of society. The educator therefore works to stimulate the spirit of inquiry, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the thoughtful formulation of worthy goals.
In fulfillment of the obligation to the student, the educator:
- Shall not unreasonably restrain the student from independent action in the pursuit of learning
- Shall not unreasonably deny the student access to varying points of view
- Shall not deliberately suppress or distort subject matter relevant to the student’s progress
- Shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning or to health and safety
- Shall not intentionally expose the student to embarrassment or disparagement
- Shall not on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, national origin, marital status, political or religious beliefs, family, social, or cultural background, or sexual orientation, unfairly:
- Exclude any student from participation in any program
- Deny benefits to any student
- Grant any advantage to any student
- Shall not use professional relationships with students for private advantage
- Shall not disclose information in the course of professional service unless disclosure serves a compelling professional purpose or is required by law