4043 Professional Boundaries Between Employees and Students

4043 Professional Boundaries Between Employees and Students

School district employees are responsible for conducting themselves professionally and for teaching and modeling high standards of behavior and civic values, both at and away from school.  Employees are required to establish and maintain professional boundaries with students.  Employees are the students’ role models, not their friends, and they must take care to see that this line does not become blurred. This applies to employees’ conduct and interactions with students and to material they post on personal web sites and other social networking sites including, but not limited to, MySpace and Facebook.  The posting or publication of messages or pictures or other images that diminish an employee’s professionalism or ability to maintain the respect of students and parents may impair his or her ability to be an effective employee.  Employees are expected to behave in a manner supportive of the best interests of students.

Unless an employee has a legitimate educational purpose, the following behaviors violate the professional boundaries that employees are expected to maintain with students.  This list is intended to illustrate inappropriate behavior involving students but not to describe every kind of prohibited behavior.

  • Communicating about sex when the discussion is not required by a specific aspect of the curriculum.
  • Joking about matters involving sex, using double entendre or making suggestive remarks of a sexual nature.
  • Displaying sexually inappropriate material or objects.
  • Making any sexual advance, whether written, verbal, or physical or engaging in any activity of a sexual or romantic nature.
  • Kissing of any kind.
  • Dating a student or dating a former student within one year of the student graduating or otherwise leaving the district.
  • Playing favorites or permitting a specific student to engage in conduct that is not tolerated from other students.
  • Discussing the employee’s personal issues or problems that should normally be discussed with other adults.
  • Inviting a student to the employee’s residence without the knowledge of the student’s parent or guardian.
  • Going to a student’s home when the student’s parent, guardian, or a proper chaperone is not present.
  • Repeatedly seeking to be alone with a student or allowing a student to repeatedly seek “alone time” with the employee on or off school grounds.
  • Any other behavior which exploits the special position of trust and authority between an employee and student.

This list is not exhaustive.  Any behavior which exploits a student is unacceptable.  If in doubt, ask yourself, “Would I be doing this if my family or colleagues were standing next to me?”

Concerns about violations should be reported to the appropriate building principal if the concern involves a teacher, coach, or non-certified employee; the superintendent if the concern involves another district administrator; or the president of the board of education if the concern involves the superintendent.

A student who feels his or her boundaries have been violated should directly inform the offender that the conduct or communication is offensive and must stop.  If the student does not wish to communicate directly with the offender or if direct communication has been ineffective, the student should report the conduct or communication to a teacher, administrator, counselor or other school employee with whom she or he feels comfortable.

All reports made under this policy will remain confidential to the extent allowed by law.

Retaliation for good faith reports or complaints made as a result of this policy is prohibited.  Individuals who knowingly and intentionally make a false report shall be subject to discipline as provided by district policy and state law.

A violation of this policy will form the basis for employee discipline up to and including termination or cancellation of employment, filing a report with law enforcement officials, and filing a report with the Commissioner of Education.

 

Adopted on November 11, 2013

Reviewed on _______________

Revised on ________________