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Code of Ethics for Educational Professionals

Robert F. Munroe Day School

Standards of Conduct for Faculty and Staff

The faculty and staff of Robert F. Munroe Day School recognize the worth and dignity of each individual, the right to seek and acquire learning and understanding, and the responsibilities herein as citizens of a democratic nation. The fundamental concern of educational professionals will always be for the student and the development of their academic potential. The educational professionals will thus strive to grow consistently within their roles as academicians and exercise their best judgment and integrity where the benefits of the students are concerned. Additionally, educational professionals must maintain an awareness of the importance attached to the respect and confidence of colleagues, students, parents, and the community at large. As a result, they must endeavor to strive to achieve the highest standards of ethical conduct. Educational professionals and other staff will be instructed on the rights and responsibilities outlined in the Robert F. Munroe Day School Code of Ethics for Educational Professionals and will receive periodic staff development as reinforcement or to apprise of changes and/or additions.

Standards

(1) Criminal Acts

The faculty and staff of Robert F. Munroe Day School are expected to abide by federal, state, and local laws and statutes. Unethical conduct includes, but is not restricted to, the commission and subsequent conviction of a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude. Conviction shall include the finding by a court and its agents a verdict of “guilty” or a plea of nolo contendere, regardless of whether an appeal of conviction has been sought; a situation where first offender treatment without adjudication of guilt pursuant to the charge was granted; and a situation where an adjudication of guilt or sentence was otherwise withheld or not entered on the charge, or the charge was otherwise disposed of in a similar manner in any jurisdiction.

(2) Abuse of Students

An education professional should always maintain a professional relationship with all students, both inside and outside of the school. Unethical conduct includes, but is not restricted to:

a. Committing any act of child abuse, to include physical and verbal abuse.
b. Committing any act of cruelty to children or any act of endangerment.
c. Committing or soliciting any unlawful sexual act.
d. Engaging in harassing behavior on the basis of race, gender, sex, national origin, religion, or disability.
e. Soliciting, encouraging, or consummating an inappropriate written, verbal, or physical relationship with a student.
f. Furnishing tobacco, alcohol, or illegal/unauthorized drugs to any student or allowing a student to consume alcohol or illegal/unauthorized drugs.
g. All digital communication with students must include at least two adults, with the other adult either being the child’s parents or another school employee.

(3) Alcohol or Drugs

An education professional should refrain from the use of alcohol or illegal/unauthorized drugs during the course of professional practice. Unethical conduct includes, but is not limited to:

a. Being on school premises or at a school-related activity* involving students while under the influence of, possessing, or consuming illegal/unauthorized drugs.
b. Being on school premises or at a school-related activity* involving students while documented as being under the influence, possessing, or consuming alcoholic beverages.
c. Being in the company of students, while off-campus, and documented as being under the influence, possessing, or consuming illegal/unauthorized drugs or alcohol.

* A school-related activity includes but is not restricted to, any activity sponsored by the school or its agents (i.e. booster clubs, parent-teacher organizations, or any activity designed to enhance the curriculum of the school, such as class trips, etc.).

(4) Misrepresentation or Falsification

An education professional should always display honesty and integrity in the course of fulfilling their duties to the school. Unethical conduct includes, but is not restricted to:

a. Falsifying, misrepresenting, omitting, or erroneously reporting professional qualifications, criminal history, college or staff development credit and/or degrees, academic awards, and employment history when applying for employment or when an individual is recommended for employment or promotion.
b. Falsifying, misrepresenting, omitting, or erroneously reporting information submitted to federal, state, and any other governmental agencies.
c. Falsifying, misrepresenting, omitting, or erroneously reporting information regarding the evaluation of students and/or school personnel.
d. Falsifying, misrepresenting, omitting, or erroneously reporting reasons for absences or leaves.
e. Falsifying, misrepresenting, omitting, or erroneously reporting information submitted in the course of an official inquiry/investigation.

(5) School Funds or Property

An educational professional entrusted with school funds and property should honor the trust that is placed upon them with a high degree of honesty, accuracy, and responsibility. Unethical conduct includes but is not restricted to:

a. Misusing school-related funds.
b. Failing to account for funds collected from students or parents.
c. Submitting fraudulent requests for reimbursement of expenses for pay.
d. Co-mingling school-related funds with personal funds or checking accounts.
e. Using school property without the approval of the Headmaster.
f. Failing to report to the school gifts and benefits given to the employee in exchange for their services or purchases related to school business.
g. Any purchases made using funds given as a rebate or reward for school business must be reported and declared as school property.

(6) Improper Remunerative Conduct

An education professional should strive to maintain integrity with students, colleagues, parents, patrons, or businesses when accepting gifts, gratuities, favors, and additional compensation. Unethical conduct includes but is not restricted to:

a. Solicitation of students and/or parents to purchase supplies, equipment, goods, or services* from the educator or to participate in activities that are financially beneficial to said educator unless otherwise approved by the Headmaster.
b. Acceptance of supplies, equipment, goods, or services from vendors (or potential vendors) for personal gain or use in which the appearance of or actual conflict of interest may exist.

*Approved services usually include Summer School, tutoring, and a variety of sports camps.

(7) Confidential Information

An education professional should comply with school policy (and local, state, and federal laws) where applicable as it relates to the confidentiality of student and personnel records, testing information, and any other information that is normally covered by confidentiality agreements. Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to:

a. Sharing of confidential information concerning student academic and disciplinary records, personal information held in confidence, medical and health records, family status and/or income, and testing information (entrance, achievement, etc.) unless such disclosure is otherwise legally permissible.
b. Sharing of confidential information concerning employee salaries, benefits, or other compensatory information or other financial information of the school that is not specifically disseminated by the headmaster.

(8) Abandonment of agreement

An education professional should carry out and fulfill all of the terms and obligations of their agreement for employment with the Headmaster for the full duration specified therein. Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to:

a. Abandonment of the agreement for other professional services (requiring agreementual obligation) without first gaining release by the Headmaster.
b. Willfully refusing to perform or neglecting duties and responsibilities that are specified by the agreement of employment or assigned by the Head of School or his designee.

(9) Failure to Make Required Reports

An education professional should file reports of a breach of one or more of the standards for ethical conduct contained within the Robert F. Munroe Day School Code of Ethics for Educational Professionals, child abuse, or any other required report to the proper school agent (the Headmaster) or law enforcement agency. Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to:

a. Failure to report all requested or required information on documents for the Head of School for application or renewal for employment.
b. Failure to make a required report of violations of the Robert F. Munroe Day School Code of Ethics for Educational Professionals or state and federal law to the proper school agent (the Headmaster) and/or law enforcement agency, of which the employee has personal knowledge (the employee is required to submit any reports as soon as possible, but no later than thirty [30] days from the date that the employee first became aware of an alleged violation unless the law or other legal procedures dictate otherwise).

(10) Professional Conduct

An education professional should conduct themselves in a manner that follows generally recognized professional standards. Unethical conduct may be defined as “any conduct that impairs the (educational professional’s) ability to function professionally in his or her employment position or a pattern of behavior or conduct that is detrimental to the health, welfare, discipline, or morals of students.” Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to:

a. Denying professional rights, privileges, and benefits to any colleague or employee based on race, color, ethnic origin, sex, age, or handicap.
b. Engaging in harassing or discriminatory conduct which interferes with an individual’s professional performance or which creates an abusive, intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment (furthermore, the educational professional will endeavor to ensure that individual protection from such circumstances are afforded to all colleagues and employees).
c. Misrepresenting the professional credentials, qualifications, or history as a means to gain employment and submitting false or withholding any necessary information on any required documentation that is connected with professional activities.
d. Making intentionally false or otherwise malicious statements about the school, the faculty and staff, students, parents, and board members or any other agents.
e. Allowing the continuance of any employee known or adjudged to be unqualified based on the Robert F. Munroe Day School Code of Ethics for Educational Professionals and other applicable state and federal statutes.

Violations of any aspect(s) of the Robert F. Munroe Day School Code of Ethics for Educational Professionals may serve as cause to terminate employment and render null and void the agreement of employment with Robert F. Munroe Day School.

(11) Adapted from the Code of Ethics of the Education Profession in Florida and Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida) added 1/2015

1. Our school values the worth and dignity of every person, the pursuit of truth, devotion to excellence, acquisition of knowledge, and the nurture of democratic citizenship. Essential to the achievement of these standards are the freedom to learn and to teach and the guarantee of equal opportunity for all.
2. Our primary concern is the student and the development of the student’s potential. Employees will therefore strive for professional growth and will seek to exercise the best professional judgment and integrity.
3. Concern for the student requires that our instructional personnel:
a. Shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning and/or to the student’s mental and/or physical health and/or safety.
b. Shall not unreasonably restrain a student from independent action in pursuit of learning.
c. Shall not unreasonably deny a student access to diverse points of view.
d. Shall not intentionally suppress or distort subject matter relevant to a student’s academic program.
e. Shall not intentionally expose a student to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement.
f. Shall not intentionally violate or deny a student’s legal rights.
g. Shall not harass or discriminate against any student on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, marital status, handicapping condition, sexual orientation, or social and family background and shall make reasonable effort to assure that each student is protected from harassment or discrimination.
h. Shall not exploit a relationship with a student for personal gain or advantage.
i. Shall keep in confidence personally identifiable information obtained in the course of professional service, unless disclosure serves professional purposes or is required by law.
4. Aware of the importance of maintaining the respect and confidence of colleagues, of students, of parents, and of the community, employees of our school must display the highest degree of ethical conduct. This commitment requires that our employees:
a. Shall maintain honesty in all professional dealings.
b. Shall not on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, marital status, handicapping condition if otherwise qualified, or social and family background deny to a colleague professional benefits or advantages or participation in any professional organization.
c. Shall not interfere with a colleague’s exercise of political or civil rights and responsibilities. d. Shall not engage in harassment or discriminatory conduct which unreasonably interferes with an individual’s performance of professional or work responsibilities or with the orderly processes of education or which creates a hostile, intimidating, abusive, offensive, or oppressive environment; and, further, shall make reasonable effort to assure that each individual is protected from such harassment or discrimination.
e. Shall not make malicious or intentionally false statements about a colleague.

Training Requirement All instructional personnel and administrators are required as a condition of employment to complete training on these standards of ethical conduct.

Reporting Misconduct by Instructional Personnel and Administrators

All employees and administrators have an obligation to report misconduct by instructional personnel and school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student. Examples of misconduct include obscene language, drug and alcohol use, disparaging comments, prejudice or bigotry, sexual innuendo, cheating or testing violations, physical aggression, and accepting or offering favors. Reports of misconduct of employees should be made to the Head of School, Adam Gaffey, adam.gaffey@rfmunroe.org. Reports of misconduct committed by administrators should be made to Katelyn Snow, katelyn.snow@rfmunroe.org. The main school number is 850-956-5500.

Legally sufficient allegations of misconduct by Florida certified educators will be reported to the Office of Professional Practices Services. Policies and procedures for reporting misconduct by instructional personnel or school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student are posted in the Teacher/Faculty Handbook.

Reporting Child Abuse, Abandonment or Neglect 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/.

Signs of Physical Abuse The child may have unexplained bruises, welts, cuts, or other injuries; broken bones; or burns. A child experiencing physical abuse may seem withdrawn or depressed, seem afraid to go home or may run away, shy away from physical contact, be aggressive, or wear inappropriate clothing to hide injuries.

Signs of Sexual Abuse The child may have torn, stained or bloody underwear, trouble walking or sitting, pain or itching in genital area, or a sexually transmitted disease. A child experiencing sexual abuse may have unusual knowledge of sex or act seductively, fear a particular person, seem withdrawn or depressed, gain or lose weight suddenly, shy away from physical contact, or run away from home.

Signs of Neglect The child may have unattended medical needs, little or no supervision at home, poor hygiene, or appear underweight. A child experiencing neglect may be frequently tired or hungry, steal food, or appear overly needy for adult attention.

Patterns of Abuse: Serious abuse usually involves a combination of factors. While a single sign may not be significant, a pattern of physical or behavioral signs is a serious indicator and should be reported.

Liability Protections Any person, official, or institution participating in good faith in any act authorized or required by law, or reporting in good faith any instance of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect to the department or any law enforcement agency, shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability which might otherwise result by reason of such action. (F.S. 39.203)

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 protected under F.S. Chapter 760. (F.S. 768.095)

This document is based on the Code of Ethics for education professionals utilized by the Departments of Education of Florida and Georgia.