CODE OF ETHICS

BOARD POLICY - 9271

It is the intent of the Board of Education in adopting this Code of Ethics that the members of the Board of Education be held to the highest standard of ethical conduct.  Effective service to the community in their role as Board members requires each Board member to guide his/her actions according to the personal ideals expressed in this Code of Ethics.  Only by doing so can Board members ensure optimum performance of the Board of Education's primary responsibility to the students of the Irvine Unified School District and to their oath of office as legislative representatives of the community. 

In pursuit of their commitment to provide high quality public education that supports the full development of all children, and promotes the present and future welfare of the local community, individual Board members recognize other major commitments as a part of their office:  
 

  • The Community.  Each Board member is responsible to all residents of the District and not solely to those who elected him/her; nor solely to any organization to which  he/she may belong, or which may have supported his/her election.
  • Individuals.  Each Board member has a direct concern for every individual in the community.  As an integral part of his/her duties, he/she represents the authority and responsibility of government.   This authority must be exercised with as much care and concern for the least influential as for the most influential member of the community. 
  • Employees.  The Board member's actions may affect the capability of district employees to practice their trade or profession and should encourage their increasing competence and professional growth.
  • Laws, Policies. Each Board member  must be aware of, and comply with, the constitutions of State and Nation, the Education Code of the State of California, other laws pertaining to public education, and the established policies of the District.  By this policy, Board members shall not enter into contracts with the District for a period of 12 months subsequent to leaving elected office.
  • Decision-making.  Each Board member is obliged by law to participate in decisions pertaining to education in the District.  As an elected representative of the people, the Board member can neither relinquish nor delegate this responsibility to any other individual or group.
  • Individual Feelings and Philosophy.  Every individual Board member has something to contribute to society.

Understanding and acting upon the foregoing premises, each Board member shall:  

First and foremost, conduct his/her activities as a Board member in congruence with the moral values which the Board of Education has endorsed to be taught to students, thereby serving as an example of a public decision-making body striving to consistently make ethical choices.  The moral values endorsed by the Board of Education are as follows:

Honesty

Conducts human interactions in a fair straightforward manner; tells the truth; does not cheat, steal, or intentionally mislead; behaves in a manner consistent with one's professed values and ideals (integrity)

Responsibility

Accepts responsibility for the foreseeable consequences of one's actions, reactions, choices, and goals; demonstrates an active commitment to the welfare of others.

Compassion

Demonstrates sensitivity and a decent measure of caring and concern for fellow human beings; exhibits generosity and love

Perseverance

Continues the pursuit of goals in the face of adversity; demonstrates a willingness to work (diligence)

Respectfulness

Holds one's self, each other person, and the environment in high regard; acknowledges the inherent value in each human being and each living thing; honors the rights of others to be autonomous and to be treated with dignity (Not to be confused with an insistence that one is entitled to someone else's respect)

Cooperation

Interacts with others in a mutually beneficial way; seeks thoughtful and peaceful ways of resolving conflict

Civic Duty

Respects the principles of representative democracy, expresses informed views; participates in the democratic process; observes rules and laws; demonstrates a commitment to the public good

Courage 

Demonstrates a willingness to act positively on a moral value even in the face of potential personal loss; a willingness to take calculated risks to achieve a positive result (Not to be confused with aggressive physical or emotional behavior)

In the conduct of their activities as Board members, the application of the above moral values will encourage each Board member to:

  • Consider his/her position on the Board as a public trust and not use it for private advantage or personal gain.
  • Be constantly aware that he/she has no legal authority except when acting as a member of the Board.  Board members shall present their concerns and concepts through the process of Board debate.  If in the minority of any decision, they shall abide by and support the majority decision. Divergent opinions shall be respected.  
  • Encourage ideas and opinions from the residents of the District and endeavor to incorporate community views into the deliberations and decisions of the Board.
  • Devote sufficient time, thought, and study to proposed actions so as to be able to base decisions upon all available facts and vote in accordance with honest convictions, unswayed by partisan bias of any kind.  
  • Remember that the basic functions of the Board are to establish the policies by which district schools are administered and to select the Superintendent and staff who will implement those policies.
  • Promotes and participate actively in a concerted program of timely exchange of information with all district residents, parents, employees, and students.
  • Recognize that the deliberations of the Board in closed session may be released or discussed in public only with Board approval.  
  • Make use of opportunities to enlarge his/ her potential as a Board member through participation in educational conferences, workshops, and training sessions made available by local, state, and national agencies.

A Code of Ethics is a clear statement to the public that the Board of Education understands its role and commitment  to provide an example of ethical decision making as one of the most powerful lessons it can provide to the students and the community.

Policy Adopted : December 6, 1994