Conduct and Interaction Standards Required of All Employees

All employees and administrators have an obligation to report misconduct by

instructional personnel and school administrators which affects the health,

safety, and welfare of the School’s students at all times. The following sets forth

some examples of inappropriate and prohibited behavior. Any similar behavior

that creates even the appearance of impropriety must be avoided and must be

promptly reported as outlined below:

As employees of an educational institution, you are held to a higher standard

by parents, students, colleagues, and members of the public. We support and

endorse a strict policy of respect toward students and expect employees to

act at all times as adult role models. In addition, students typically respond

better to faculty and administrators and evidence greater levels of respect

when appropriate expectations are established right from the beginning of

the relationship. Therefore, you should ensure that you do not engage in

any interaction or communication that may reflect even the appearance of

impropriety or make students feel uncomfortable in your presence. If you are not

sure whether a particular comment or action may be appropriate, it is far better

to avoid the behavior than risk negative consequences.

The following are examples of inappropriate interactions and communications

with students. This list is not all inclusive and other, similar activities should also

be avoided:

Calling students at home for non-school related matters;

Encouraging or allowing students to call you by an inappropriate nickname;

Touching students or their clothing in non-professional ways or inappropriate

places, or touching a student with aggression, in frustration, or when you are

highly emotional;

Giving your phone number or asking for other students’ phone numbers for use in

situations other than for legitimate school reasons;

Making comments that are too personal to students (about their clothing, hair,

nail polish, personal habits, etc.);

Being alone with a student in a room, vehicle, or other area;

Sending e-mails, communicating through Facebook (or any Internet social site) or

writing notes to students of a personal nature;

Giving students rides, except in emergency situations;

Engaging students to complete personal errands for you;

Discussing the personal affairs of other students or your colleagues;

Speaking with innuendo to suggest a relationship or sexual subjects;

Flirting with a student;

Visiting students to “hang out” in their hotel rooms when on field trips or sporting

events;

Swearing, making inappropriate sexual, racial/or ethnic comments;

Yelling or abusive actions toward a student;

Drinking or using illegal drugs at school, around or with students, or at any school-
related event when students are present;

Telling off-color jokes; and

Dating or engaging in consensual relationships with students.

Discussing your own personal matters with students

In addition, employees must adhere to the following additional guidelines:

Employees should never physically move, grab, touch, or hit a student, or grab

something from a student, with aggression or because of frustration. You should

never physically threaten a student with words or objects. You should never treat

a student with anything less than respect and dignity. If a student does not follow

directions as expected, you should communicate clearly your instructions and, if

the student does not listen or respond appropriately, you should take appropriate

action, seeking assistance from the administration as necessary.

Employees shall maintain the highest level of honesty, integrity, and

professionalism in their dealings with students, parents, their co-workers, and the

public.

Employees must ensure that all standard safety rules and guidelines are followed,

whether in the classroom, on a field trip, on the bus, or at any school-related

event.

Employees shall not share with persons who do not have a legitimate need to

know information regarding the personal lives of students and their parents.

This includes information relating to a student’s disability, impairment, medical

condition, medications, grades, and disciplinary actions; or a parent’s financial

condition, marital problems, etc. Employees should note, however, that to the

extent any personal information potentially pertains to a concern of abuse,

abandonment, or neglect, such information must be promptly reported as

discussed in our Child Abuse Reporting Policy.

Employees shall comply with applicable laws, school policies, regulations and

related rules and are prohibited from engaging in any activities that could involve

the in any unlawful practice.

Employees must promptly report any concerns relating to child abuse,

abandonment, or neglect in accordance with the procedures set forth in the

School’s Child Abuse Reporting Policy.

Reporting Procedure: All employees and administrators have an obligation to

report misconduct by instructional personnel and school administrators which

affects the health, safety, and welfare of the School’s students at all times. If

you witness, learn of, or hear information that raises the possibility that an

employee has engaged in inappropriate behavior or misconduct that might

affect the health, safety, or welfare of a student, including child abuse, you must

notify one of the following individuals immediately. If you are unsure whether

a particular action or comment in inappropriate, you should err on the side of

caution and report the concern to:

1. Head of School

2. Administrative Assistant

Do not attempt to resolve the situation yourself. It is vital that one of the

individuals above be notified so that the School can handle the situation

appropriately. Failure to report inappropriate behavior or misconduct that may

affect the health, safety, or welfare of a child may result in discipline, up to and

including termination.

You will not be retaliated against or disciplined in any way for making a

good faith report of misconduct. If you believe that any employee has retaliated

against you for such good faith report, you must immediately report that concern

to one of the above individuals. In addition, you should note that Florida’s child

abuse reporting law provides immunity to persons who report actual or

suspected cases of child abuse in good faith.

Timing of Reports: Reporting of complaints or concerns should be made

promptly so that rapid and constructive action can be taken. Therefore, while no

fixed reporting period has been established, we expect employees to make

reports as soon as they have reason to believe that an employee’s conduct may

affect a student’s health, safety, or welfare. In addition, even if you are currently

hearing about an employee’s alleged past misconduct, you must report your

concern so that the School can investigate the situation and ensure that

appropriate action, if any, has been taken.

Investigatory Process and Confidentiality: The administration will assess the

information provided and will investigate reports of misconduct. The investigation

will be tailored to the report and may include individual interviews with the

complaining individual, the person accused of inappropriate conduct and, where

necessary, with individuals who may have observed the alleged conduct or may

have relevant knowledge. The School will attempt to maintain confidentiality of

the information to the extent possible, consistent with the School’s obligations to

properly investigate.

Disciplinary and Other Related Action: The School will discipline any individual

found to have engaged in inappropriate behavior or misconduct that may affect

the health, safety, or welfare of students. In addition, the School will discipline

any person whom it determines was aware of the circumstances and failed to

report it. Moreover, to the extent that the individual who knowingly failed to

report such misconduct holds a Florida teaching certificate, the Florida Education

Practices Commission may suspend the educator’s certificate for such failure.

Child Abuse Reporting Obligations

As educational professionals, we have a responsibility to provide the children we

teach with the opportunity to obtain the best education possible. However, our

responsibility does not end there. We also have a legal responsibility to protect

the children we educate from child abuse, neglect, and abandonment, and to

report any information that we receive that leads us to suspect that a child has

been abused, neglected, or abandoned.

Unfortunately, child abuse, neglect and abandonment are all too frequent

occurrences in today’s society. In our capacities as educators or employees at an

educational institution, at some point in our careers we are likely to come into

contact with child abuse, neglect or abandonment. This prompts the question,

“how do I recognize and deal with such a situation when it occurs?” This policy is

designed to provide guidelines for reporting suspected child abuse, neglect, and

abandonment.

Florida Statutes require that all school personnel report situations involving

potential child abuse, neglect, or abandonment. The statute contains these

definitions:

“Abuse”: any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental, or

sexual injury or harm that causes or is likely to cause the child’s physical , mental,

or emotional health to be significantly impaired.

“Neglect”: when a child is deprived of, or is allowed to be deprived of, necessary

food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment or a child is permitted to live in an

environment when such deprivation or environment causes the child’s physical,

mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired or to be in danger of

being significantly impaired.

“Abandonment”: a situation in which the parent or legal custodian of a child, or

in the absence of a parent of legal custodian, the caregiver responsible for the

child’s welfare, while being able, makes no provision for the child’s support and

makes no effort to communicate with the child, which situation is sufficient to

evince a willful rejection of parental obligations.

If you have any belief, concern, or thought that you have witnessed, heard, or

heard about a situation possibly involving abuse, neglect, or abandonment, by

any person who is a custodian, is responsible for the child’s welfare, or is in a

supervisory capacity over the child (parent, uncle, pastor, physician, counselor,

instructor, school administrator, babysitter, etc.), you must report your concern

to the Headmaster. The Headmaster will then discuss the situation with you to

ensure that the appropriate reports, if any, are completed. All employees and

agents have an affirmative duty to report all actual or suspected cases of child

abuse, abandonment, or neglect. Call 1-800-96-ABUSE or report online at:

http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/report/.

Employees who report concerns of suspected abuse, abandonment, or neglect

are expected to cooperate in any investigation by child protective services. In

addition, under the provisions of Florida Stat. § 39.203, employees who, in good

faith, report suspected child abuse, neglect, or abandonment are immune from

civil or criminal liability for reporting such information and participating in any

investigation. Other than the report itself and the communication of appropriate

information to the Headmaster (or designee), or as approved by the Headmaster,

the information about the suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect

should remain confidential for the protection of the child.

You should also understand that the failure to promptly report suspected

abuse, abandonment, or neglect can result in criminal charges for a first degree

misdemeanor. In addition, an educator’s teaching certificate may be suspended

from any person who knowingly failed to report child abuse, abandonment or

neglect.

Finally, employees are reminded of their obligations to report employee

misconduct that affects the health, safety, or welfare of children, in accordance

with our Conduct and Interaction Standards Required of All Employees, which is

contained in a separate reporting policy. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary

action and could result in the suspension of an educator’s teaching certificate.

An employer who discloses information about a former or current employee

to a prospective employer of the former or current employee upon request of

the prospective employer or of the former or current employee is immune from

civil liability for such disclosure or its consequences unless it is shown by clear

and convincing evidence that the information disclosed by the former or current

employer was knowingly false or violated any civil right of the former or current

employee protect4ed under F. S. Chapter 760. (F. S. 768.095)