The educator 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.
The educator's primary professional concern will always be for the student and for the development of the student's potential. The educator will therefore strive for professional growth and will seek to exercise the best professional judgment and integrity.
Aware of the importance of maintaining the respect and confidence of one's colleagues, of students, of parents, and of other members of the community, the educator strives to achieve and sustain the highest degree of ethical conduct.
As an employee of a private school in the state of Florida, please review the following code of ethics and procedures. The code will describe several issues, including (1) that you have a responsibility and duty to report any sign of misconduct by instructional personnel and school administrators, and (2) that you and your employer are exempt from prosecution for reporting any suspected abuse.
All instructional personnel and administrators are required as a condition of employment to complete training on these standards of ethical conduct.
Immunity from Prosecution
The following is the state statute that details that you and the administration of Trinity Christian Academy are immune from liability for reporting misconduct by instructional personnel and school administrators.
39.203 Immunity from liability in cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect.
(1)(a) Any person, official, or institution participating in good faith in any act authorized or required by this chapter, 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.(b) Except as provided in this chapter, nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to grant immunity, civil or criminal, to any person suspected of having abused, abandoned, or neglected a child, or committed any illegal act upon or against a child. (2)(a) No resident or employee of a facility serving children may be subjected to reprisal or discharge because of his or her actions in reporting abuse, abandonment, or neglect pursuant to the requirements of this section. (b) Any person making a report under this section shall have a civil cause of action for appropriate compensatory and punitive damages against any person who causes detrimental changes in the employment status of such reporting party by reason of his or her making such report. Any detrimental change made in the residency or employment status of such person, including, but not limited to, discharge, termination, demotion, transfer, or reduction in pay or benefits or work privileges, or negative evaluations within a prescribed period of time shall establish a rebuttable presumption that such action was retaliatory.
768.095 Employer immunity from liability; disclosure of information regarding former or current employees.
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 chapter 760.
Duty to Report Misconduct of Employees and Administrators
Pursuant to chapter 1006.061 (1) of the Florida Statutes, 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.
Procedure to Report Misconduct of Employees 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 Joseph N. Jimenez, Director; phone number 305-819-8999; email email@example.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 the Employment Information center in the cafeteria.
Duty to Report 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.
Procedure to Report Actual or Suspected Child Abuse, Abandonment or Neglect
Employees should report all actual or suspected child abuse, abandonment or neglect, to Assistant Director, Yohanka Mendez. Employees may also call 1-800-96-ABUSE or report online at: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/report/.
44 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. Pattern of 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.
Principles of Professional Conduct for TCA employees
The following disciplinary rule shall constitute the Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession at Trinity Christian Academy. Violation of any of these principles shall subject the individual to revocation or suspension of the individual educator's certificate, loss of employment, and/or the other penalties as provided by law.
Obligation to the student requires that the individual:
1. 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.
2. Shall not unreasonably restrain a student from independent action in pursuit of learning.
3. Shall not unreasonably deny a student access to diverse points of view.
4. Shall not intentionally suppress or distort subject matter relevant to a student's academic program.
5. Shall not intentionally expose a student to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement.
6. Shall not intentionally violate or deny a student's legal rights.
7. 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.
8. Shall not exploit a relationship with a student for personal gain or advantage.
9. Shall keep in confidence personally identifiable information obtained in the course of professional service, unless disclosure serves professional purposes or is required by law.
Obligation to the public requires that the individual:
1. Shall take reasonable precautions to distinguish between personal views and those of any educational institution or organization with which the individual is affiliated.
2. Shall not intentionally distort or misrepresent facts concerning an educational matter in direct or indirect public expression.
3. Shall not use institutional privileges for personal gain or advantage.
4. Shall accept no gratuity, gift, or favor that might influence professional judgment.
5. Shall offer no gratuity, gift, or favor to obtain special advantages.
Obligation to the profession of education requires that the individual:
1. Shall maintain honesty in all professional dealings.
2. 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.
3. Shall not interfere with a colleague's exercise of political or civil rights and responsibilities.
4. 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.
5. Shall not make malicious or intentionally false statements about a colleague.
6. Shall not use coercive means or promise special treatment to influence professional judgments of colleagues.
7. Shall not misrepresent one's own professional qualifications.
8. Shall not submit fraudulent information on any document in connection with professional activities.
9. Shall not make any fraudulent statement or fail to disclose a material fact in one's own or another's application for a professional position.
10. Shall not withhold information regarding a position from an applicant or misrepresent an assignment or conditions of employment.
11. Shall provide upon the request of the certificated individual a written statement of specific reason for recommendations that lead to the denial of increments, significant changes in employment, or termination of employment.
12. Shall not assist entry into or continuance in the profession of any person known to be unqualified in accordance with these Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida and other applicable Florida Statutes and State Board of Education Rules.
13. Shall self-report within forty-eight (48) hours to appropriate authorities (as determined by district) any arrests/charges involving the abuse of a child or the sale and/or possession of a controlled substance. Such notice shall not be considered an admission of guilt nor shall such notice be admissible for any purpose in any proceeding, civil or criminal, administrative or judicial, investigatory or adjudicatory. In addition, shall self-report any conviction, finding of guilt, withholding of adjudication, commitment to a pretrial diversion program, or entering of a plea of guilty or Nolo Contendre for any criminal offense other than a minor traffic violation within forty-eight (48) hours after the final judgment. When handling sealed and expunged records disclosed under this rule, school districts shall comply with the confidentiality provisions of Sections 943.0585(4)(c) and 943.059(4)(c), Florida Statutes.
14. Shall report to appropriate authorities any known allegation of a violation of the Florida School Code or State Board of Education Rules as defined in Section 1012.795(1), Florida Statutes.
15. Shall seek no reprisal against any individual who has reported any allegation of a violation of the Florida School Code or State Board of Education Rules as defined in Section1012.795(1), Florida Statutes.
16. Shall comply with the conditions of an order of the Education Practices Commission.
17. Shall, as the supervising administrator, cooperate with the Education Practices Commission in monitoring the probation of a subordinate.
Please sign below accepting that you (1) have reviewed, understand, and accept the above codes and principles, and (2) have received a copy of the state publication entitled, “The Code of Ethics and The Principles of Professional Conduct of the Education Profession in Florida.”
A signed copy of this document will be placed in your Personnel File. You will be given a copy for your records.