Standards of Conduct
Code of Ethics & Standard Practices
Review and update employees on:
- Standards of Conduct
- Professional Ethical Conduct
- Ethical Conduct Towards Colleagues
- Ethical Conduct Towards Students
- Arrest, Indictments, Convictions And Other Adjudications
- Safety Handbook
Employee Standards of Conduct
- Each District employee shall perform his or her duties in accordance with state and federal law, District policy, and ethical standards. [DH(EXHIBIT)]
- District employees shall recognize and respect the rights of students, parents, other employees, and members of the community and shall work cooperatively with others to serve the best interests of the District. [DH Local]
- An employee wishing to express concern, complaints, or criticism shall do so through appropriate channels. [DGBA]
Professional Ethical Conduct
Thirteen (13) standards are addressed in this principle. The Educator shall NOT:
1.1 Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly engage in deceptive practices regarding all official policies of the school district and governing institution.
1.2 Knowingly misappropriate, divert or use monies, personnel, property or equipment for personal gain or advantage.
1.3 Submit fraudulent request of reimbursement, expenses, or pay.
1.4 Use institutional or professional privileges for personal partisan advantage.
1.5 Shall neither accept nor offer gratuities, gifts, or favors that impair professional judgment or to obtain special advantage.
1.6 Falsify records or direct or coerce others to do so.
1.7 Shall comply with state regulations, written local school board policies, and other applicable state and federal laws.
1.8 Shall apply for, accept, offer or assign a position or a responsibility on the basis of professional qualifications.
1.9 Make threats of violence against school district employees, school board members, students, or parents of students.
1.10 Shall be of good moral character and be worthy to instruct or supervise the youth of this state.
1.11 Intentionally or knowingly misrepresent his or her employment history, criminal history, and/or disciplinary record when applying for subsequent employment.
1.12 Shall refrain from the illegal use or distribution of controlled substances and/or abuse of prescription drugs and toxic inhalants.
1.13 Consume alcoholic beverages on school property or during school activities when students are present.
Alcohol and Drugs
An employee shall not manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess, use, or be under the influence of any of the following substances during working hours while at school or at school-related activities during or outside of usual working hours:
1) Any controlled substance or dangerous drug as defined by law.
2) Alcohol or any alcoholic beverage.
3) Any abusable glue, aerosol paint, or any other chemical substance for inhalation.
4) Any other intoxicant or mood-changing, mind-altering, or behavior-altering drug.
An employee need not be legally intoxicated to be considered “under the influence” of a controlled substance.
An employee shall not use tobacco products on District premises, in District vehicles, or at school or school-related activities. [GKA] It is a violation of policy to use, consume, display or sell any tobacco products, tobacco-related devices, or electronic cigarettes at any time on District property or at off-campus, school-sponsored events.
The term “electronic cigarette” means any oral device that provides a vapor of liquid nicotine, lobelia, and/or other substance, and the use or inhalation of which simulates smoking. This includes any devices, whether they are manufactured, distributed, marketed or sold as e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-pipes, or under any other product name or descriptor.
Ethical Conduct Towards Colleagues
Seven (7) standards are addressed in this principle. The educator shall NOT:
2.1 Reveal confidential health or personnel information concerning colleagues unless disclosure serves lawful professional purposes or is required by law.
2.2 Harm others by knowingly making false statements about a colleague or the school system.
2.3 Shall adhere to written local school board policies and state and federal laws regarding hiring, evaluation, and dismissal of personnel.
2.4 Interfere with a colleague’s exercise of political, professional, or citizenship rights and responsibilities.
2.5 Discriminate against or coerce a colleague on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, disability, or family status, or sexual orientation.
2.6 Use coercive means or promise of special treatment in order to influence professional decisions or colleagues.
2.7 Retaliate against any individual who has filed a complaint with the SBEC or who provides information for a disciplinary investigation or proceeding under this chapter.
Ethical Conduct Towards Students
Nine (9) standards are addressed in this principle. The educator shall NOT:
3.1 Reveal confidential information concerning students unless disclosure serves lawful professional purposes or is required by law.
3.2 Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly treat a student or minor in a manner that adversely affects or endangers the learning, physical health, mental health or safety of the student or minor.
3.3 Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly misrepresent facts regarding a student.
3.4 Exclude a student from participation in a program or deny benefits to a student, or grant an advantage to a student on the basis of race, color, gender, disability, national origin, religion, or family status, or sexual orientation.
3.5 Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly engage in physical mistreatment, neglect, or abuse of a student or minor.
3.6 Solicit or engage in sexual conduct or a romantic relationship with a student or minor.
3.7 Furnish alcohol or illegal/ unauthorized drugs to any person under 21 years of age unless the educator is a parent or guardian of that child or knowingly allow any person under 21 years of age unless the educator is a parent or guardian of the child to consume alcohol or illegal/unauthorized drugs in the presence of the educator.
3.8 Shall maintain appropriate professional educator ‐ student relationships and boundaries based on a reasonably prudent educator standard.
3.9 The educator shall refrain from inappropriate communication with a student or minor, including, but not limited to, electronic communication such as cell phone, text messaging, email, instant messaging, blogging, or other social network communication.
Relationship With Students
An employee shall not form romantic or other inappropriate social relationships with students. Any sexual relationship between a student and a District employee is always prohibited, even if consensual. [FFH]
Relationships With Former Students
An employee shall not engage in a romantic relationship with a former District student who:
1) Is not yet 21 years of age; and
2) Has graduated from the District within the past two years.
Inappropriate Relationship with Students Numbers on the Rise
- Texas has the highest number of reported teacher-student inappropriate relationships.
- TEA reported conducting 162 investigations between Sept. 1st and May 31st.
- TEA reported 188 investigations for the last fiscal year, making it the fifth straight year of growth.
- Texas lawmakers blame social media for the rise in numbers.
- Students are now choosing to interact socially with a teacher using social media.
- Relational boundaries are blurred when teachers and students communicate using social media.
- Best solution for teachers: AVOID THE SITUATION
Texas Laws & Child Abuse
Having an inappropriate relationship with a student can constitute the crime of child abuse in particular sexual abuse.
More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims are abused by people they know.
Sexual Abuse as per the TAC— Child sexual abuse or molestation is criminal behavior that involves children in sexual behaviors for which they are not personally, socially, or developmentally ready. Sexual abuse can occur through touching and non-touching means.
Electronic Media Use With Students
Only a certified or licensed employee, or any other employee designated in writing by the Superintendent or a campus principal, may use electronic media to communicate with currently enrolled students about matters within the scope of the employee’s professional responsibilities. All other employees are prohibited from using electronic media to communicate with students who are currently enrolled in the District. Considerations:
- Only a teacher, trainer, or employee who has an extracurricular duty may use text messaging to communicate with students who participate in the extracurricular activity over which the employee has responsibility.
- Employees shall limit communications to matters within the scope of the employee‘s professional responsibilities.
- Employees are prohibited from communicating with students through a personal social network page; the employee must create a separate professional social network and must enable administration and parents to access the employee‘s page.
- Employees shall not communicate with any student between the hours deemed inappropriate by the Campus Administrator or as outlined by District Administration
Electronic Media Personal Use
An employee shall be held to the same professional standards in his or her public use of electronic media as for any other public conduct. If an employee’s use of electronic media violates state or federal law or District policy or interferes with the employee’s ability to effectively perform his or her job duties, the employee is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
If an employee wishes to use a social network site or similar media for personal purposes, the employee is responsible for the content on the employee’s page, including content added by the employee, the employee’s friends, or members of the public who can access the employee’s page, and for Web links on the employee’s page.
ARRESTS, INDICTMENTS, CONVICTIONS, AND OTHER ADJUDICATIONS
An employee shall notify his or her principal or immediate supervisor within three calendar days of any arrest, indictment, conviction, no contest or guilty plea, or other adjudication of the employee for any felony, any offense involving moral turpitude, and any of the other offenses as indicated on District Policy DH Local.