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Code of Ethics for Georgia Educators






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May 2005. Georgia Professional Standards Commission. 2. The standards of performance and code of ethics shall represent standards of performance and conduct which are generally accepted by educators of this state. 20-2-984.1.. May 2005. Georgia Professional Standards Commiss
Code of Ethics for Georgia Educators

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1. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 1 Code of Ethics for Georgia Educators

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4. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 4 Code of Ethics Definitions of terms Ten Standards Reporting Requirements Other disciplinary actions by the PSC The Code of Ethics is printable in a brochure format on the front and back of one page. There is a color brochure on the PSC web page that you are welcome to copy and duplicate as needed. Again, I would remind you not to make copies until after July 15, 2003, so that the brochure will reflect the latest changes the PSC will have adopted this summer. The Code includes: Definitions of terms Ten Standards Reporting Requirements Other Disciplinary Actions I have given you a copy of the proposed version of the Code of Ethics that will be effective July 15 and a copy of the ten standards. You will notice that these are ten positive statements of professionalism. At the suggestion of a high school social studies teacher who attended one of those first focus groups, the commission stated the standards as ?shalls? rather than ?shall nots.? Please feel free to make copies of that document as well for the teachers in your building.The Code of Ethics is printable in a brochure format on the front and back of one page. There is a color brochure on the PSC web page that you are welcome to copy and duplicate as needed. Again, I would remind you not to make copies until after July 15, 2003, so that the brochure will reflect the latest changes the PSC will have adopted this summer. The Code includes: Definitions of terms Ten Standards Reporting Requirements Other Disciplinary Actions I have given you a copy of the proposed version of the Code of Ethics that will be effective July 15 and a copy of the ten standards. You will notice that these are ten positive statements of professionalism. At the suggestion of a high school social studies teacher who attended one of those first focus groups, the commission stated the standards as ?shalls? rather than ?shall nots.? Please feel free to make copies of that document as well for the teachers in your building.

5. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 5 Definition of an Educator An educator is a teacher, administrator, or other personnel who holds, or has applied for, a PSC certificate, license or permit.

6. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 6 Definition of a Student A student is any individual enrolled in the state?s public or private schools from preschool through grade 12 or any individual between and including the ages of 3 and 17 There are several definitions at the beginning of the code. A student is any individual enrolled in GA?s private or public schools from preschool through grade 12 or any individual between and including the ages of 3 and 17. An 18-year-old who is enrolled in school is a student. A 17-year old who has graduated is a student. Please emphasize with educators that it is not permissible to have a relationship with any student anywhere.There are several definitions at the beginning of the code. A student is any individual enrolled in GA?s private or public schools from preschool through grade 12 or any individual between and including the ages of 3 and 17. An 18-year-old who is enrolled in school is a student. A 17-year old who has graduated is a student. Please emphasize with educators that it is not permissible to have a relationship with any student anywhere.

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8. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 8 Standard One Criminal Acts An educator should abide by federal, state and local laws and statutes. Standard One states that educators should be law-abiding citizens. Should we expect anything less of an educator? Standard One states that educators should be law-abiding citizens. Should we expect anything less of an educator?

9. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 9 Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to the commission or conviction of a felony or of any crime involving moral turpitude.

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13. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 13 As used herein, conviction includes:

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15. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 15 Failure to Report a Criminal History Answering ?no? when the proper answer is ?yes? constitutes misrepresentation and falsification. The PSC usually sanctions persons who are not honest on applications. Educators should report any conviction as I explained to the school system and to the PSC. Failure to report a criminal history will usually result in additional charges for misrepresentation and or falsification as well as failure to make a required report. Educators should report any conviction as I explained to the school system and to the PSC. Failure to report a criminal history will usually result in additional charges for misrepresentation and or falsification as well as failure to make a required report.

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17. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 17 Standard Two Abuse of Students An educator should always maintain a professional relationship with all students, both in and outside the classroom. Standard Two states that an educator should always maintain a professional relationship with all students, both in and outside the classroom. The first three examples in this standard would also be criminal acts and would require reporting under the statute concerning child abuse. The fourth example relates to harassment. Educators should never harass a student on the basis of race, gender, national origin, religion or disability. Sarcasm is usually a deadly weapon in the hands of a teacher who has great influence in a student?s sense of self-worth. The fifth example involves personal relationships with students. Teachers should be warned about encouraging an inappropriate relationship by means of email, telephone, written messages (notes, letters, cards, etc.) Educators should not date students . Educators should not develop a personal relationship with students that creates an emotional dependency on the educator. Educators should not furnish or allow a student to consume alcohol, illegal or unauthorized drugs. Educators should not furnish tobacco to students. Standard Two states that an educator should always maintain a professional relationship with all students, both in and outside the classroom. The first three examples in this standard would also be criminal acts and would require reporting under the statute concerning child abuse. The fourth example relates to harassment. Educators should never harass a student on the basis of race, gender, national origin, religion or disability. Sarcasm is usually a deadly weapon in the hands of a teacher who has great influence in a student?s sense of self-worth. The fifth example involves personal relationships with students. Teachers should be warned about encouraging an inappropriate relationship by means of email, telephone, written messages (notes, letters, cards, etc.) Educators should not date students . Educators should not develop a personal relationship with students that creates an emotional dependency on the educator. Educators should not furnish or allow a student to consume alcohol, illegal or unauthorized drugs. Educators should not furnish tobacco to students.

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20. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 20 Standard Three Alcohol or Drugs An educator should refrain from the use of alcohol or illegal or unauthorized drugs during the course of professional practice. Standard Three involves an educator?s use of alcohol and drugs during the course of professional practice. The Professional Standards Commission does not wish to become involved in the personal lives and personal choices of educators. Every educator is entitled to a personal life, apart from his or her role in the school with students. However, when an educator is in the role or educator--at school, at a sporting event, at a school dance, on a field trip, at a sports camp, at a debate, on a foreign language trip, involved in school-related activity, he or she should not be under the influence of alcohol, illegal or unauthorized drugs. Standard Three involves an educator?s use of alcohol and drugs during the course of professional practice. The Professional Standards Commission does not wish to become involved in the personal lives and personal choices of educators. Every educator is entitled to a personal life, apart from his or her role in the school with students. However, when an educator is in the role or educator--at school, at a sporting event, at a school dance, on a field trip, at a sports camp, at a debate, on a foreign language trip, involved in school-related activity, he or she should not be under the influence of alcohol, illegal or unauthorized drugs.

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22. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 22 What is a school-related activity? Any activity sponsored by the school or school system (booster clubs, parent-teacher groups, or any activity designed to enhance curriculum, i.e., Foreign Language trips What is a school-related activity? Any activity includes, but is not limited to, any activity sponsored by the school or school system (booster clubs, parent-teacher organizations, or any activity designed to enhance curriculum, I.d., Foreign Language trips).What is a school-related activity? Any activity includes, but is not limited to, any activity sponsored by the school or school system (booster clubs, parent-teacher organizations, or any activity designed to enhance curriculum, I.d., Foreign Language trips).

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24. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 24 Standard Four Misrepresentation or Falsification An educator should exemplify honesty and integrity in the course of professional practice. An educator should exemplify honesty and integrity in the course of professional practice. If you ask most any educator, you will find that one thing that upsets them almost without exception is for a student to cheat--to copy someone else?s paper, to turn in someone else?s work, to plagiarize a report or research paper. No less should be acceptable of an educator.An educator should exemplify honesty and integrity in the course of professional practice. If you ask most any educator, you will find that one thing that upsets them almost without exception is for a student to cheat--to copy someone else?s paper, to turn in someone else?s work, to plagiarize a report or research paper. No less should be acceptable of an educator.

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28. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 28 Standard Five Public Funds and Property The Commission is also clarifying this standards with recent proposed changes. This is an area of growing concern with the number of complaints involving the misuse of public funds and public property. Educators are usually provided with computers, access to printers and copiers and other technology to assist them in providing quality instruction to students. This equipment is not for personal use. There has been a marked increase in the number of educators accessing inappropriate sites on school computers during the school day.The Commission is also clarifying this standards with recent proposed changes. This is an area of growing concern with the number of complaints involving the misuse of public funds and public property. Educators are usually provided with computers, access to printers and copiers and other technology to assist them in providing quality instruction to students. This equipment is not for personal use. There has been a marked increase in the number of educators accessing inappropriate sites on school computers during the school day.

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31. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 31 Standard Six Improper Remuneration An educator should maintain integrity with students, colleagues, parents, patrons, or businesses when accepting gifts, gratuities, favors, and additional compensation. Educator are not paid what they are worth. We would all agree with that fact. However, that fact does not excuse taking remuneration to which an educator is not due. An individual music teacher may not give private music lessons for pay from his or her students and a math teacher may not tutor for pay without permission from the local board. Educator are not paid what they are worth. We would all agree with that fact. However, that fact does not excuse taking remuneration to which an educator is not due. An individual music teacher may not give private music lessons for pay from his or her students and a math teacher may not tutor for pay without permission from the local board.

32. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 32 Unethical conduct includes:

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34. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 34 Standard Seven Confidential Information An educator should comply with state and federal laws and local school board/governing board policies relating to the confidentiality of student and personnel records, standardized test material and other information covered by confidentiality agreements. Confidential Information is simply that--confidential. Urge educators to guard confidential information carefully; disclosing personal data only when required or permitted.Confidential Information is simply that--confidential. Urge educators to guard confidential information carefully; disclosing personal data only when required or permitted.

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37. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 37 Standard Eight Abandonment of Contract An educator should fulfill all of the terms and obligations detailed in the contract with the local board of education or education agency for the duration of the contract. Abandoning a contract--leaving students without a qualified educator to provide instructional services is a serious infraction. Educators should be cautioned to read contracts carefully and to realize teaching contracts, like all contracts are legally binding. Abandoning a contract--leaving students without a qualified educator to provide instructional services is a serious infraction. Educators should be cautioned to read contracts carefully and to realize teaching contracts, like all contracts are legally binding.

38. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 38 1. abandoning the contract for professional services without prior release from the contract by the employer, and

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40. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 40 Standard Nine Failure to Make a Required Report An educator should file reports of a breach of one or more of the standards in the Code of Ethics for Educators, child abuse (O.C.G.A. ?19-7-5), or any other required report. Instruct the teachers about the law mandating reports of child abuse. Make the chain of command very clear. When an educator reports to his or her superior, he or she has satisfied the reporting requirement. I received an email from a teacher recently, telling me how students had come to him saying that three other teachers had given them copies of the end of year test in a high school course. The teacher stated in the email that he had reported this to his principal, but he felt bad about ?telling on? his colleagues. He wanted me to clarify the reporting standard and reporting instructions from the Code of Ethics. My reply to him was, ?Sometimes it is difficult to be a person of integrity. It is hard to do what is right in some circumstances, but it still is the right thing to do.? The commission is not trying to foster ?snitches.? However, when persons make poor decisions and breach the Code of Ethics, it almost always has a negative impact on students. If we, as educators, are going to live up to the professional standards of the teaching profession, sometimes it means doing the hard thing.Instruct the teachers about the law mandating reports of child abuse. Make the chain of command very clear. When an educator reports to his or her superior, he or she has satisfied the reporting requirement. I received an email from a teacher recently, telling me how students had come to him saying that three other teachers had given them copies of the end of year test in a high school course. The teacher stated in the email that he had reported this to his principal, but he felt bad about ?telling on? his colleagues. He wanted me to clarify the reporting standard and reporting instructions from the Code of Ethics. My reply to him was, ?Sometimes it is difficult to be a person of integrity. It is hard to do what is right in some circumstances, but it still is the right thing to do.? The commission is not trying to foster ?snitches.? However, when persons make poor decisions and breach the Code of Ethics, it almost always has a negative impact on students. If we, as educators, are going to live up to the professional standards of the teaching profession, sometimes it means doing the hard thing.

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48. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 48 Standard Ten Professional Conduct An educator should demonstrate conduct that follows generally recognized professional standards. Unethical conduct is any conduct that impairs the certificate holder?s ability to function professionally in his or her employment position, Standard Ten, includes any unethical conduct not included in the other nine standards. Standard Ten states: An educator should demonstrate conduct that follows generally recognized professional standards.Standard Ten, includes any unethical conduct not included in the other nine standards. Standard Ten states: An educator should demonstrate conduct that follows generally recognized professional standards.

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50. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 50 Other Disciplinary Actions Disciplinary action against a certificate in another state Non-payment of child support; Default on a student loan Suspension or Revocation of any professional license or certificate Violation of any other laws and rules applicable to the profession, and Any other good and sufficient cause that renders an educator unfit for employment as an educator. In addition to the ten standards there are a few other reasons for disciplinary actions including failure to pay student loans. Since 1975, when statute mandated suspension of educator certification for nonpayment of student loans, the PSC has suspended 575 certificates. I would hasten to report that 88% of those have been reinstated and are now in proper repayment status. Most banks would love that rate. As an administrator you should be reminded that when an educator has been suspended, he or she cannot work in the school setting. The last line of the Code of Ethics clearly states that An individual whose certificate has been revoked, denied or suspended may not be employed as an educator, paraprofessional aide or substitute teacher during the period of his or her revocation, suspension or denial. If an educator has been revoked, denied or suspended in another state, the commission may take disciplinary action based on the action taken in another state. The National Clearinghouse through the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification or NASDTEC, lists all disciplinary actions taken in any state.In addition to the ten standards there are a few other reasons for disciplinary actions including failure to pay student loans. Since 1975, when statute mandated suspension of educator certification for nonpayment of student loans, the PSC has suspended 575 certificates. I would hasten to report that 88% of those have been reinstated and are now in proper repayment status. Most banks would love that rate. As an administrator you should be reminded that when an educator has been suspended, he or she cannot work in the school setting. The last line of the Code of Ethics clearly states that An individual whose certificate has been revoked, denied or suspended may not be employed as an educator, paraprofessional aide or substitute teacher during the period of his or her revocation, suspension or denial. If an educator has been revoked, denied or suspended in another state, the commission may take disciplinary action based on the action taken in another state. The National Clearinghouse through the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification or NASDTEC, lists all disciplinary actions taken in any state.

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52. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 52 An individual whose certificate has been revoked, denied, or suspended may not serve as a volunteer or be employed as an educator, paraprofessional, aide, or substitute teacher or in any other position during the period of his or her revocation, suspension or denial for a violation of The Code of Ethics.

53. May 2005 Georgia Professional Standards Commission 53 Contact Information ethics@gapsc.com Phone 404-232-2700 FAX 404-232-2710 or 2720 Two Peachtree, Suite 6000 Atlanta, GA 30303-3141 The Educator Ethics Division wants to help you in any way that we can. If you run into situations that you simply want to discuss hypothetically or you have specific questions about a criminal history of one of your teachers or you need information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you.The Educator Ethics Division wants to help you in any way that we can. If you run into situations that you simply want to discuss hypothetically or you have specific questions about a criminal history of one of your teachers or you need information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you.


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