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Ethics in Education Act Florida Department of Education Office of Professional Practices Services.

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Presentation on theme: "Ethics in Education Act Florida Department of Education Office of Professional Practices Services."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ethics in Education Act Florida Department of Education Office of Professional Practices Services

2 Adams v. State Professional Practices Council (FL 1st DCA, 1981) By virtue of their leadership capacity, teachers are traditionally held to a high moral standard in a community.

3 Whats New Establish Ethical Standards for Instructional Personnel and School Administrators Establish duty of Instructional Personnel and School Administrators to report misconduct of Instructional Personnel or School Administrators Prohibit Confidentially Agreements Require employment history checks Establish Disqualifying Offenses Re-assignment during investigations Reporting of Abuse and Misconduct

4 Ethical Standards § and (1)(d). District policies must, at a minimum: establish ethical standards for instructional personnel and school administrators, and the duty to uphold the standards require instructional personnel or school administrators to complete training on the standards establish the duty of instructional personnel and school administrators to report alleged misconduct of instructional personnel or school administrators establish the detailed procedures for reporting

5 Reporting Procedures Designate to whom instructional staff and school administrators report misconduct Inform staff of penalties for the failure to report Explanation of the liability protections pursuant to § or § , Florida Statutes

6 Confidentiality Agreements Prohibited prohibit confidentiality agreements regarding instructional personnel or school administrators who are: – terminated – dismissed – allowed to resign in lieu of termination – based in whole or in part on misconduct that affects the health, safety or welfare of a student Any part of an agreement or contract that has the purpose or effect of concealing misconduct which affects the health, safety or welfare of a student is void

7 Employment History Checks Prior to employment of school administrators or instructional personnel which require direct student contact an employer should: –Review for certificate action through the Disciplinary Action web page –Review certificate information and any flags through the Bureau of Educator Certification –Conduct reference checks from previous employer and –Document the findings

8 Disqualifying Offenses § , Florida Statutes –45 felony crimes –2 misdemeanor crimes Similar federal or other state offenses Registered Juvenile Sex Offenders Conviction Regardless of date of offense or conviction

9 Reassignment Allegation of misconduct by Instructional Personnel or School Administrator Affects the Health, Safety or Welfare of a student Superintendent in consult with principal must: –Immediately suspend, with pay, the Instructional Personnel or School Administrator from regularly assigned duties to position that does not require direct student contact Until completion of the proceedings

10 Reporting Abuse or Misconduct Post in a prominent place at each school site and on each schools web page –Policies and Procedures for reporting misconduct by Instructional Personnel and School Administrators which affects the health, safety or welfare of a student –The contact person to whom the report is made –Penalties imposed for failure to report

11 Reporting Known or Suspected Abuse and Neglect Public and Private school employees are mandated reporters and have a legal obligation to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect to the Department of Children and Families. { Chapter Florida Statutes} To make a report call ABUSE

12 Reporting Educator Misconduct All employees and agents of Florida public schools, charter schools and private schools that accept scholarship students have an affirmative duty to report educator misconduct.

13 If you are charged with investigating misconduct - Ensure student safety - Take all allegations seriously

14 DO Act Immediately Take photographs of the scene or event Secure physical evidence Compile a list of potential witnesses Record known information about the event Remain objective Determine if law enforcement or DCF needs to be called

15 DO NOT Assume anything Ignore the complaint Gossip Be defensive Threaten a victim or witness Fail to maintain records Act with prejudice to a personal relationship

16 Important items Photographs / Videos Letters / Cards / Gifts Seating Charts / Class Rosters Attendance Records Computer evidence / s Text Messages Personnel Records

17 Common Types of Allegations Boundary Violations Sexual Misconduct Inappropriate Comments Inappropriate Discipline Misappropriation of School Funds Criminal Charges Alcohol or Drug Abuse Fraudulent Information/ Credentials Standardized Testing Violations Incompetence

18 Criminal Charges Shall self-report within 48 hours to appropriate authorities…any arrests/charges or incidents involving the abuse of a child or the sale and/or possession of a controlled substance…conviction of finding of guilt, withholding of adjudication, commitment to a pretrial diversion program… State Board of Education Rule 6B-1.006(5)(m)

19 Sexual Misconduct with Students… Dont think it doesnt happen Overly friendly or familiar contact with students Colloquial conversations with students Preferential treatment toward a student Phone calls, letters, cards, gifts, s, text or instant messages Sitting in a car alone with a student Meeting a student outside of school Allowing unaccompanied students to visit their home Accepting or offering gifts or favors

20 Caution Slippery Slope Frequently issuing passes to a particular student Taking a student to a restaurant Giving a student a ride home Sitting alone with a student in a dark room Writing notes or letters to a student Meeting students before or after school Communicating to students via cell phone, text message or Giving students cards or gifts Pronounced interest in a students home life Talking about other students Visiting a student at work Taking pictures of or with students Posting photos of students online Hugs and kisses Overly friendly pats or rubs on a student Using pet names Showing favoritism Allowing a student to drive a teachers personal vehicle

21 Potential Negative Actions Criminal Charges Adverse employment action Adverse certificate action

22 Professional Boundaries Consider how your actions may be perceived by others – Perceptions are often greater than reality

23 Contact Information Office of Professional Practices Services 325 West Gaines Street Tallahassee, Florida Telephone:


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