Ethics Training & Reporting and Media Protection Policies

 

Standards of Ethical Conduct

Identifying and Reporting Professional Misconduct

 

(Adapted from the Code of Ethics of the Education Profession in Florida and Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida)

  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:
  4. 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.
  5. Shall not unreasonably restrain a student from independent action in pursuit of learning.
  6. Shall not unreasonably deny a student access to diverse points of view.
  7. Shall not intentionally suppress or distort subject matter relevant to a student’s academic program.
  8. Shall not intentionally expose a student to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement.
  9. Shall not intentionally violate or deny a student’s legal rights.
  10. 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.
  11. Shall not exploit a relationship with a student for personal gain or advantage.
  12. Shall keep in confidence personally identifiable information obtained in the course of professional service, unless disclosure serves professional purposes or is required by law.
  13. 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:
  14. Shall maintain honesty in all professional dealings.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Shall not make malicious or intentionally false statements about a colleague

 

Identifying and Reporting Professional Misconduct

Florida Statutes and Rules

Florida Statutes s. 1006.061 states all employees and agents of the district school board, charter schools, and private schools that accept scholarship students, have an obligation to report misconduct by an instructional personnel member or school administrator  

Florida Statutes s. 1012.33 outlines disciplinary procedures regarding district        employment contracts with instructional personnel staff, supervisors and school principals 

Florida Statutes s. 1012.795 provides the Education Practices Commission the authority to issue disciplinary action against an individual’s Florida Educator certificate

Florida Statutes s. 1012.796 provides authority for the Department of Education to investigate and prosecute allegations of educator misconduct 

Florida Statute s. 1012.01 defines public school instructional personnel, administrative personnel, school volunteers, education support employees and managers

State Board of Education Rule 6B-1.001 defines the Code of Ethics of the Education    Profession in Florida

State Board of Education Rule 6B-1.006 defines the Principals of Professional Conduct of the Education Profession in Florida

HOW TO REPORT

MISCONDUCT

  • Report allegations or suspicion of misconduct by an instructional personnel member to your school administrator or district contact
  • Report allegations or suspicion of misconduct by your school administrator to your district contact
  • Document the activities or details of the event.
  • Secure evidence (if applicable)

If someone tells you about misconduct, be a LEADER:

Listen

Evaluate

Act immediately

Document

Encourage

Report

WHO SHOULD 

REPORT MISCONDUCT?

All employees and agents of a district school board, charter school or private school have a duty to report misconduct.  

If you are aware of or observe misconduct

REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY!

WHO SHOULD 

YOU REPORT?

  • Classroom teachers
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Substitute teachers 
  • Librarians, guidance counselors and social workers
  • Career specialists and school psychologists
  • Principals, Assistant Principals and Deans

“A teacher affects        eternity…he can never tell where his influence stops.”

~Henry B.  Adams

Failure to 

Report 

Misconduct

Possible penalties for instructional 

personnel or site administrators who fail to report misconduct may include:

  • Written Reprimand
  • Suspension with or without pay
  • Termination of employment
  • Discipline/Sanctions on an educator’s certificate

The following behavior may be 

indicative of misconduct that 

should be reported:

  • being alone with a student in dark or closed room or secluded area
  • behaving in an overly friendly or familiar way or failing to maintain an appropriate  professional boundary with a student
  • using forceful or unnecessary physical contact with a student
  • administering discipline not compliant with district policy
  • accepting or offering of gifts for return of a favor or privilege from students or colleagues
  • badgering or habitually teasing a student
  • mocking or belittling a student
  • chronically embarrassing a student
  • displaying prejudice or bigotry against a student
  • suspicion of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • failing to properly supervise students or to ensure student safety
  • cheating, falsifying information or testing violations
  • retaliating against a student or colleague for reporting misconduct
  • bantering or engaging in colloquial or slang communications with a student
  • directing  or using profane, offensive, or explosive language in the presence of students
  • making lewd or suggestive comments or overtures toward a student or colleague

Apply the litmus test

        1.  If you feel uncomfortable

        2.  If you question the person’s motives or actions

        3.  If you are unsure

            Protect the students and yourself and report.

Identifying and reporting Professional 

Misconduct

“By virtue of their leadership 

capacity, teachers are traditionally 

held to a high moral standard in a 

community”

 

Adams v. State of Florida Professional Practices Council,

406 So 2nd 1170 Fla. 1st DCA 1981

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

 CONTACT:

Florida Department of Education

Office of Professional Practices Services

Turlington Building

325 West Gaines Street

(850)245-0438

www.myfloridateacher.com

{DISTRICT CONTACT INFORMATION}

“Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other 

professions.”

–Author Unknown

Florida Department of Education

Office of Professional Practices Services

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:

School Director

Cathy Bicksler

561-906-8624

Cathy@providence-education.org

 

Reports of misconduct committed by administrators should be made to:

Advisory Board Member

Erik Benz

561-632-4668

erikbenz@me.com

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 Room 9 and  our Website at: 

 

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)

Florida Statutes:

  • 1006.061, Florida Statutes – Child abuse, abandonment, and neglect policy
  • 1012.315, Florida Statutes – Disqualification from employment
  • 1012.795, Florida Statutes – Education Practices Commission; authority to discipline
  • 1012.796, Florida Statutes – Complaints against teachers and administrators; procedure; penalties
  • 1012.798, Florida Statutes – Recovery network program for educators
  • 1012.799, Florida Statutes – Reporting certain offenses

 

 

Reporting Child Abuse

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)

 

Reporting Child Abuse, Abandonment or Neglect

Abuse Hotline

Report Abuse Online

TEL: 1-800-962-2873
TTY: 711 or 1-800-955-8771
FAX: 1-800-914-0004

The Florida Abuse Hotline accepts reports 24 hours a day and 7 days a week of known or suspected child abuse, neglect, or abandonment and reports of known or suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Please use the links below to report a child or adult abuse.

If you suspect or know of a child or vulnerable adult in immediate danger, call 911.

Any person who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that a child is abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent, legal custodian, caregiver, or other person responsible for the child’s welfare is a mandatory reporter. § 39.201(1)(a), Florida Statutes.

 

Florida Statutes:

  • 1006.061, Florida Statutes – Child abuse, abandonment, and neglect policy
  • 1012.315, Florida Statutes – Disqualification from employment
  • 1012.795, Florida Statutes – Education Practices Commission; authority to discipline
  • 1012.796, Florida Statutes – Complaints against teachers and administrators; procedure; penalties
  • 1012.798, Florida Statutes – Recovery network program for educators
  • 1012.799, Florida Statutes – Reporting certain offenses

To report an allegation in Spanish or Creole, please call 1-800-962-2873, for TTY use 711 or 1-800-955-8771.  This toll free number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with counselors waiting to assist you.

ATTENTION:
Some reporters need to know whether allegations have been accepted for investigation. This information is only available by calling in your report and speaking directly to a Hotline counselor. The on-line process will indicate successful submission of your report; however, it cannot provide information concerning the outcome of a Hotline assessment and should not be used if you need verbal confirmation about your report.

Español/Spanish:

Si usted es un locutor español y desea divulgar abuso, llame por favor el teléfono directo en 1-800-962-2873 para hablar con un consejero de habla hispana.

 

Kreyol/Creole:

Pou rapé enfomayson en Kreyol, tanpri rele numero 1-800-962-2873, telefonn pou le soud rele 1-800-453-5145.  Numero toll gratis sa disponsib 24 le de jou, 7 jou pa semén avék konsye kap tann pou edé ou.

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/.

 

Abuse Hotline

How to Report

Telephone: 800-962-2873

Florida Relay 711

TTY: 800-955-8771

This toll free number is available 24/7; counselors are waiting to assist you.

TELEPHONE

Call 800-962-2873.

Phone Options

Press 1 to report suspected abuse, neglect or abandonment of a child

Press 2 to report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of the elderly or a vulnerable adult

Press 3 to verify the identity of a child protective investigator who recently visited you

Press 4 for information/referrals to other services in your local area.

Be prepared to provide specific descriptions of the incident(s) or the circumstances contributing to the risk of harm, including who was involved, what occurred, when and where it occurred, why it happened, the extent of any injuries sustained, what the victim(s) said happened, and any other pertinent information are very important. Information callers should have ready includes:

  • Name, date of birth (or approximate age), race, and gender, for all adults and children involved.
  • Addresses or another means to locate the subjects of the report, including current location.
  • Information regarding disabilities and/or limitations of the victims (especially for vulnerable adult victims).
  • Relationship of the alleged perpetrator to the child or adult victim(s).
  • Other relevant information that would expedite an investigation, such as directions to the victim (especially in rural areas) and potential risks to the investigator, should be given to the Abuse Hotline Counselor.

For a complete list of information please see the What We Need to Know page.

FAX

To make a report, via fax, please send a detailed written report with your name and contact telephone or FAX contact information using the Florida Abuse Hotline’s fax reporting form to:
800-914-0004.

Tips for Successful Fax Reporting

This form is available in PDF Format, (requires that you use Adobe Acrobat to view and print).

WEB REPORTING:

Web reporting should not be used for situations requiring immediate attention. Please contact the Hotline’s toll free reporting number if you believe a child or vulnerable adult is at imminent risk of harm.

To make a report via the Florida Abuse Hotline’s web reporting option, please gather all of your information in advance and click the following link to access the web reporting option:

Report abuse online

NOTIFICATION OF REPORT:

  • Telephone reporters will always be told prior to concluding your conversation, whether the information provided has been accepted as a report.

Please do not fax multiple allegations of abuse or neglect for multiple families at a time. By submitting them one at a time, they will likely get processed faster.

 

Media Protection & Internal Policies

 

Securing media hard copy criminal history results from unauthorized access/procedures:

 

  1. All hard copy criminal history results will be filed in a fireproof, locked filing cabinet in the Director’s locked closet in a locked file cabinet which is in the locked, restricted   The office is accessed only by authorized personnel. All others are escorted. Only authorized staff are permitted in the secured office where background checks are stored.
  2. Only authorized personnel are permitted to access the hard copy criminal history results.
  3. Delivery of all criminal history checks are printed directly from the website and NOT stored electronically. The record is printed and filed in the secure room in the locked file cabinet.
  4. All disposal of criminal records will occur by shredding before recycling and it will be witnessed by  Authorized Personnel.
  5. Unauthorized requests, receipt, release, interception, dissemination, or discussion of Criminal Justice information could result in criminal prosecution and/or termination of employment.

 

  • All staff is prohibited from confidentiality agreements regarding instructional personnel or school administrators who are terminated, dismissed, or resign based on misconduct and prohibit the provision of employment references without disclosing the misconduct.  {In accordance with section 1002.421(1)(n)}