BOARD POLICY – 4119.21
The Governing Board expects District employees to maintain the highest ethical standards, behave professionally, follow District policies and regulations, abide by state and federal laws, and exercise good judgment when interacting with students and other members of the school community. Employees shall engage in conduct that enhances the integrity of the District, advances the goals of the District's educational programs, and contributes to a positive school climate.
The educational process requires healthy and appropriate relationships between staff and students that promote academic, intellectual, physical, social, and emotional wellbeing. The purpose of this policy is to provide all staff, students, volunteers, and community members with information to increase their awareness of their role in promoting student safety and well-being, and to help staff avoid behaviors that undermine the professional adult/student relationship that can lead to misconduct or the appearance of impropriety.
All District employees have a primary obligation to treat students with dignity and respect. Employees are expected to act in a professional, moral, and ethical manner in their interactions with students and in a way that is conducive to creating an effective and safe learning environment. Employees promote the health, safety and well-being of students by establishing and maintaining age-appropriate verbal, physical, emotional and social boundaries.
Relationships between employees and students should be consistent with the educational mission of the schools. All interactions with students should serve a legitimate educational purpose. For purposes of this policy, the term “legitimate educational purpose” includes matters or communications related to teaching, counseling, athletics, extracurricular activities, treatment of a student’s physical injury or other medical needs, school administration, or other purposes within the scope of the employee’s duties.
The Board encourages District employees to accept as guiding principles the professional standards and codes of ethics adopted by educational or professional associations to which they may belong. In addition to those standards, staff should be guided by the standards listed below.
- All staff are expected to observe the individual rights and dignity of students by:
- Respecting students by taking into account their age, gender, culture, setting, and socioeconomic context;
- Interacting with students with transparency and in appropriate settings;
- Communicating with students in a clear, respectful, ethical, and sensitive manner;
- Avoiding relationships with students that do not have a legitimate educational purpose, or that risk harm to student learning or well-being or decrease educator effectiveness;
- Engaging in physical contact with students only when there is a clearly defined purpose that benefits the student and continually keeps the safety and well-being of the student in mind;
- Avoiding interactions, communication, and situations that reasonably suggest the perception of inappropriate romantic/sexual adult relations with students or that violate socially acceptable boundaries with them;
- Considering the ramifications of continuing relationship of any kind with a former student, including but not limited to, any potential harm to the former student, public perception, and the possible impact on the educator’s career.
- All staff shall demonstrate an ethic and obligation of care through:
- Establishing and maintaining an environment that promotes the emotional, intellectual, and physical, safety of all students.
- Seeking to understand student educational, academic, personal, and social needs as well as student values, beliefs, and cultural background;
- Respecting the dignity, worth, and uniqueness of each individual student including, but not limited to, actual and perceived gender, gender expression, gender identity, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and culture;
- Following all responsibilities of a mandated reporter of suspected child abuse;
- Immediately reporting to site or district administrators observed behaviors or behaviors reported to them that reasonably suggest real or perceived inappropriate adult relations between students and staff;
- All staff shall model appropriate digital/cyber/electronic citizenship by using technology and electronic means of communication that promote learning, increase access to learning, and keep students safe by:
- Following all District policies and guidelines for the use of technology, social media, email, texting, messaging, etc.;
- Using only District sponsored and approved platforms to communicate with students;
- Communicating with groups of students and individual students in a transparent manner that demonstrably supports the educational mission and serves a legitimate educational purpose;
- Avoiding one-to-one communication with students that can lead to misconduct and the appearance of impropriety, or that reasonably gives the perception that such communication does not have a legitimate educational purpose directly related to the job duties of the employee;
- Respecting the privacy of students and the need to protect the privacy of student information obtained in the course of professional practice;
- Upholding parents’/guardians’ legal rights, as well as any legal requirements to reveal information related to legitimate concerns for the well-being of a student;
- Protecting the confidentiality of student records and releasing personal data in accordance with prescribed state and federal laws and local policies.
200-262.4 Prohibition of discrimination
44050 Employee code of conduct; interaction with students
44242.5 Reports and review of alleged misconduct
48980 Parental notifications
11164-11174.4 Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act
CODE OF REGULATIONS, TITLE 5
80303 Reports of dismissal, resignation and other terminations for alleged misconduct
80331-80338 Rules of conduct for professional educators
COMMISSION ON TEACHER CREDENTIALING PUBLICATIONS
California Professional Standards for Educational Leaders, February 2014
Policy Adopted: July 13, 2021