Employee Ethics Policy

Standards of Ethical Conduct

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.

d. Shall not make malicious or intentionally false statements about a colleague.

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

Reporting Misconduct:
All instructional personnel, educational support employees, and school administrators have an obligation to report misconduct by instructional personnel, educational support employees 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 Headmaster or his assistant in the office if he is unavailable.

Reports of misconduct committed by administrators should be made to one of the Board of Director members.

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 administrative office and in our Employee 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)

Child Abuse/Neglect

General Statement of Policy:
Child abuse is defined as physical or sexual abuse, or emotional maltreatment. Child neglect is defined as the failure to provide food, clothing, shelter or medical care, failure to protect a child from conditions or actions, which endanger the child’s physical or mental health, failure to take steps to ensure that the child is educated in accordance with state law, or prenatal exposure to controlled substances.

Appropriate and Inappropriate Contact with Minors

  • Physical discipline in a school setting is prohibited as a way of behavior management of minors.
  • Appropriate affection is important for a child's development and is a positive part of school life. There are forms of affection between school personnel and minors that are regarded as appropriate examples for most school sponsored and affiliated programs:
    • Side and/or shoulder to shoulder hugs 
    • Pats on the shoulder or back 
    • "High-fives" and hand slapping 
    • Verbal praise 
    • Touching hands, faces, shoulders and arms of minors 
    • Arms around shoulders 
    • Holding hands while walking with small children
    • Sitting beside small children 
    • Kneeling or bending down for hugs with small children 
    • Holding hands during prayer 
    • Pats on the head when culturally appropriate (Example: This gesture should typically be avoided in some Asian communities.) 
  • Some forms of physical affection have been used by adults to initiate inappropriate contact with minors. In an effort to provide the safest possible environment for minors, the following examples of affection are not to be used in school sponsored and affiliated programs:
    • Inappropriate or lengthy embraces
    • Kisses on the mouth
    • Holding minors over two years old on the lap
    • Touching bottoms, chests or genital areas
    • Showing affection in isolated areas of the school such as staff only areas or isolated/concealed classrooms
    • Touching the legs of a minor above the knee
    • Wrestling with minors
    • Piggyback rides
    • Any type of massage given by minor to adult
    • Any type of massage given by adult to minor
    • Any form of unwanted affection
    • Compliments that relate to physique or body development

Harassment Policy

Chesterton Academy shall maintain a learning and working environment that is free from harassment. This policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, administrators, members of the Board of Directors, parents, vendors, volunteers, coaches, guests, and others who act on our behalf. It applies whenever and wherever a school program takes place. Anyone who violates this policy is subject to appropriate disciplinary action, which may include separation from the school.

Harassment is unwelcome verbal or physical conduct which has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's performance or which creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment. The basis for harassment may be any protected class; including age, creed, color, disability, national origin, race, and marital status, status with regard to public assistance, religion, gender, and sexual orientation.

One particular category of harassment, sexual harassment, consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical conduct or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature, which substantially interferes with an individual's employment or education or creates a hostile, intimidating, or offensive working or learning environment. It also includes situations where submission to such behavior affects decisions about the individual's employment or education. Sexual harassment may be directed to members of the same or opposite sex. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • Teasing or joking of a sexual nature, sexual name calling, making references to past or present sexual activity, spreading sexual rumors, or making derogatory or dehumanizing remarks
  • Subtle pressure for sexual activity
  • Intentional brushing against a person's body
  • Display of offensive pictures, posters, or other graphics
  • Leering, inappropriate patting or pinching, and other forms of unwelcome touching
  • Otherwise creating a hostile, intimidating, or offensive environment

Any member of the school community who experiences or witnesses sexual or protected class harassment should report the incident to the Headmaster (or, in the case of a complaint against the Headmaster or if the employee is not comfortable discussing the matter with the Headmaster, then with any member of the Board of Directors).

Chesterton Academy will investigate all complaints, whether formal or informal, verbal or written, of sexual or protected class harassment. Based on the investigation, appropriate action, including but limited to, counseling, disciplinary warnings, or other disciplinary actions, will be taken.

In cases involving the unlawful harassment of minors, the parents will be notified and a report to the Child Protection Agency or to the police will be filed if required by state law.

Retaliation or intimidation directed towards anyone who makes a complaint or assists in the investigatory process will not be tolerated. The complainant should be invited to report recurrences or retaliation, and the situation monitored as the Headmaster or director deems appropriate.
Chesterton Academy will keep all complaints and information learned during investigations as confidential as is reasonably possible. However, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.

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