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Georgia Professional Standards Commission. The Code of Ethics for Georgia Educators-2014-2015. Professional Standards Commission. Certification Educator Preparation Ethics. Legal Authority of the PSC Ethics Division. 20-2-984.1. Adoption of a Code of Ethics.

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Georgia Professional Standards Commission

The Code of Ethics for Georgia Educators-2014-2015

Professional Standards Commission


Educator Preparation


Legal Authority of the PSC Ethics Division

20-2-984.1. Adoption of a Code of Ethics.

 It shall be the duty of the commission to adoptstandards of performance and a code of ethics for educators…which are generally accepted by educators of this state.

Code of Ethics

Code of “Common Sense”

20-2-984.1. Adoption of a Code of Ethics.

The standards of performance and code of ethics adopted by the commission shall be limited to professional performance and professional ethics.

The PSC does not care what you do in you personal lives as long as it does not carryover into your professional lives.

Definition of Educator

20-2-982.1.(2)"Educator"means education personnel who hold, have applied for, or been denied certificates, permits, or other certification documents issued by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.  

Legal Compliance

Standard 1

Standard 1

An educator shall abide by federal, state, and local laws and statutes.

Legal Compliance

Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to the commission or conviction of:

a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude.

any criminal offense involving a controlled substance or marijuana.

any sexual offense specified in Code Section 16.

any laws applicable to the profession.

Standard #1 Legal Compliance

  • Educator was arrested and charged with writing bad checks. She entered a guilty plea, forfeited a cash bond, and paid her fine.

  • Reprimand

Standard #1 Legal Compliance

  • The Educator was arrested for misdemeanor Theft by Shoplifting. She was sentenced to serve 12 months probation, complete community service, receive counseling, and pay a fine. The conviction occurred while the Educator held a valid PSC certificate and it was the 3rd time she had been arrested for shoplifting

  • Suspension

Conduct with Students

Standard 2

An educator shall always maintain a professional relationship with all students, both in and outside the classroom.

A student isanyone under the age of 18.

OR, a student enrolled in grades Pre-K to 12 in a public or private school.

For the purposes of the Code of Ethics, the enrollment period for a graduating student ends on August 31 of the year of graduation.


Sexual Abuse of Students

Young people instinctively recognize these boundary violations and often nickname the employee engaged in such violations a “pervert,” based on their perceived sense of inappropriateness.

Mary Jo McGrath


  • Jail time for Educators who have sexual relations with students

  • Age 16-not less than one year nor more than 25 years in jail or a fine not to exceed $100,000 or both

  • Under the age of 16-not less than 25 years nor more than 50 years in jail

20-2-751.7 (a)

  • The PSC shall establish a state mandated process for students to follow in reporting instances of alleged inappropriate behavior by a teacher, administrator or any other school employee

  • Shall include these processes in the student handbook and in employee handbook

  • Any teacher, counselor, or administrator receiving a report or sexual misconduct shall submit a written report in 24 hours

Standard #2 Conduct With Students

  • An Educator of students with disabilities, admitted to jerking/yanking students, dragging/dropping students, yelling/screaming at students in her self-contained classroom but denied ever intentionally hurting a child.

  • Suspension

Standard #2 Conduct With Students

  • The Educator admitted he had sent photos of himself to students and requested “fun” photos from the students. The Educator stated he thought the age of 16 was legal for sex.

  • Revoked

Social Networking

  • Check local school system policy regarding use of social media

Student Relationship Guidelines


Phone Calls

Be Friendly, Not a Friend.



Inappropriate Jokes


Choose Appropriate Settings

Student Relationship Guidelines




Dark Room

Alcohol or Drugs

Standard 3

Standard 3

An educator shall refrain from the use of alcohol or illegal or unauthorized drugs during the course of professional practice.


Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to:

being on school premises or at a school-related activityinvolving students while under the influence of, possessing, or consuming alcoholic beverages.

Standard #3 Drugs and Alcohol

  • The Educator was reported to be using cocaine by a member of the community. When confronted, she admitted to using cocaine earlier in the week but declined to take a drug test.

  • Suspension

Standard #3 Drugs and Alcohol

  • During a school day, teachers smelled alcohol on the breath of an Educator. The Educator admitted to drinking several martinis the night before while he stayed up late completing end-of-the-year paperwork. When tested, he registered .13 on the breathalyzer

  • Suspension


Standard 4

Standard 4

An educator shall exemplify honesty and integrity in the course of professional practice.


Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to falsifying, misrepresenting, or omitting:

professional qualifications, criminal history, college or staff development credit and/or degrees, academic award, and employment history;


Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to, falsifying, misrepresenting, or omitting:

information submitted to federal, state, local school districts and other governmental agencies;


Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to, falsifying, misrepresenting, or omitting:

3.information regarding the evaluation of students and/or personnel;


Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to,falsifying, misrepresenting, or omitting:

reasons for absences or leaves;


Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to,falsifying, misrepresenting, or omitting:

5.information submitted in the course of an official inquiry/investigation; and


Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to,falsifying, misrepresenting, or omitting:

6.information submitted in the course of professional practice.

Standard #4 Honesty

  • The Educator held a student IEP meeting, but the regular education teacher and another special education teacher were not in attendance. The initials of the two teachers who did not attend the meeting were placed on the document. The Educator was unable to recall how the initials of the co-workers were placed on the IEP document

  • Suspension

Standard #4 Honesty

  • The Educator failed to disclose his criminal history on the PSC application.

  • Reprimand

Public Funds & Property

Standard 5

Standard 5

An educator entrusted with public funds and property shall honor that trust with a high level of honesty, accuracy, and responsibility.

Public Funds & Property

Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to:

misusing public or school-related funds;

failing to account for funds collected from students or parents;

submitting fraudulent requests or documentation for reimbursement of expenses or for pay;

co-mingling public or school-related funds with personal funds or checking accounts; and

using school property without the approval of the local board of education/governing board or authorized designee.

Standard #5 Public Funds and Property

  • The Educator admitted to using Booster club debit card and account number to pay personal bills. The Educator indicated he had used the card by mistake instead of his own debit card

  • Suspension

Standard #5 Public Funds and Property

  • The Educator, a teacher and coach, rented the high school baseball field to a community team, and had the check made out to him for the use of the field.

  • Suspension

Remunerative Conduct

Standard 6

Standard 6

An educator shall maintain integrity with students, colleagues, parents, patrons, or businesses when accepting gifts, gratuities, favors, and additional compensation.

Standard #6 Remunerative Conduct

  • Multiple students stated they purchased gift cards for the Educator, at her request, with the understanding they would receive a better grade

  • Suspension

Standard # 6 Remunerative Conduct

  • The Educator encouraged students in her high school classes to help her sell vitamin supplements and told them she would give them a commission. She distributed samples to some of students for them to try.

  • Revocation

Confidential Information

Standard 7

Standard 7

An educator shall comply with state and federal laws and state school board policies relating to the confidentiality of student and personnel records, standardized test material and other information.

Confidential Information

Annual performance evaluation records of school personnel

  • Health services provided to an insured

  • Individual student performance data, information and reports

  • School records of students with disabilities

  • A student's education record

Standard # 7 Confidential Information

  • An Educator admits she gave her computer password to a student and allowed the student to assist her in completing RTI information for the students in her class.

  • Suspension

Standard # 7 Confidential Information

  • The Educator, a teacher at the middle school, admitted to accessing a high school student’s IEP information through another teacher’s log-in code because he was dating her daughter

  • Suspension

Abandonment of Contract

Standard 8

An educator shall 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.

Abandonment of Contract

  • The PSC expects educators to honor their contracts.

  • The PSC has identified circumstances that warrant educators leaving their contracted positions without a release.

  • Educators are expected to make every effort to minimize the effect on the students experiencing the loss.

Standard #8 Abandonment of Contract

  • The Educator signed a contract to work for the 2013-2014 school year. In November, the Educator submitted her resignation, effective the same day. She stated that the extra duties had been added to her job and she was completely overwhelmed.

  • Suspension

Required Reports

Standard 9

An educator shall file reports of a breach of one or more of the standards in the Code of Ethics for Educators, child abuse, or any other required report.

  • O.C.G.A. § 19-7-5

  • ‘Child abuse’ includes the following conduct by a child’s parent or caretaker:

    • Physical injury or death(by other than accidental means)

    • Neglect or exploitation of a child

    • Sexual abuse - an act of apparent sexual stimulation or gratification ...

    • Sexual exploitation - allows, permits, encourages, or requires a child to engage in prostitution or sexually explicit conduct ….


Any employee of a public or private elementary or secondary school ... who has reasonable cause to believe that a student at that school has committed any of the following acts upon school property or at any school function, shall immediately report the act and the name of the student to the principal or the principal's designee.

Aggravated assault involving a firearm;

Aggravated battery;

Sexual offenses;

Carrying a deadly weapons at public gatherings;

Carrying weapons at school;

Illegal possession of a pistol or revolver by a person under 18

Possession or any use of marijuana and controlled substances,

The principal ... shall make an oral report thereof immediately by telephone or otherwise to the appropriate school system superintendent and to the appropriate police authority and district attorney.

Any person who fails to make a report shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Standard # 9 Required Reports

  • A teacher reported that the Counselor refused to assist her in completing a mandated child abuse report because it was after hours and she was going home

  • Suspension

Standard # 9 Required Reports

  • A first year teacher came to the principal and told her about a student who had made an outcry regarding abuse by her Father. She was not the student’s teacher so she only knew the student’s nickname. The principal said they would investigate the situation in the morning.

  • Revocation

Professional Conduct

Standard 10

Standard 10

An educator shall demonstrate conduct that follows generally recognized professional standards and preserves the dignity and integrity of the teaching profession.

Standard #10 Professional Conduct

  • The Educator admitted to showing an inappropriate YouTube Video in his classes

  • Suspension

Standard #10 Professional Conduct

  • The assistant principal harassed a female custodian. The victim reported that the Educator exposed himself to her.

  • Suspension


Standard 11

Standard 11

An educator shall administer state mandated assessments fairly and ethically.

Georgia Not Only State With Questionable Test Scores

Nationwide Problem

  • 196 of the largest 3,125 school systems in the United States has suspect test score improvement

  • Odds of obtaining these reported results by chance alone is over 1000 to 1

  • In 33 of these school systems, the odds were worse than 1,000,000 to 1


  • United States spends $760,000,000 a year on testing required by NCLB

  • States are left to their own in monitoring the testing

  • Most states do not have resources to conduct investigations of this magnitude

  • One graduate student, in her dissertation, surveyed teachers in her state and found that 50% of teachers either had cheated or knew a colleague who had cheated

With a good testing program:

  • Students know the skills and knowledge they have mastered and how they compare to others.

  • Parents can evaluate whether their children are obtaining the skills and knowledge they need.

  • Teachers can determine if students have mastered the skills and knowledge needed to advance to the next level.

  • Community members have a measuring stick for student performance.

Major Testing Violations

  • Breach of Test Security

  • Fail to provide or attend training

  • Fail to follow directions specified in the manual

  • Coach, prompt, alter or provide answers to students during the test

  • Interpret, explain, or paraphrase test items

  • Copy or take notes on test items

Standard # 11 Testing

  • The Educator fell asleep while administering an EOCT to students

  • Suspension

Standard # 11

  • The Educator read aloud the science portion of the CRCT to students who did not have a read aloud accommodation

  • Suspension

Teacher’s Role

  • Attend training

  • Ensures security of test booklets before, during, and after testing

  • Follow directions

  • Arrange seats to promote individual work

  • Circulate about the classroom to prevent cheating and other violations

  • Be familiar with allowable student accommodations

  • Account for all testing materials

Lessons Learned

  • Establish an environment conducive to student learning and test score improvement

  • Require training for all participants with similar information and format at all training sessions

  • Require available staff to monitor during testing

  • Test security is paramount

Lessons Learned

  • Investigate all allegations and complaints thoroughly - consider involvement of outside investigators

  • Large increases in student test scores are a red flag

  • Having knowledge of testing violations and failing to report jeopardizes teaching certificate

  • Superintendents, Principals, and Test Coordinators are ultimately responsible

Other Grounds for Disciplinary Action:

Suspension or revocation of any professional license or certificate.

Violation of laws and rules applicable to the profession.

Any other good and sufficient cause that renders an educator unfit for employment as an educator.

Enforcing Sanctions

The superintendent and the superintendent’s designee for certification shall be responsible for assuring that an individual whose certificate has been revoked, denied, or suspended is not employed or serving in any capacity in their district. Both the superintendent and the superintendent’s designee must hold GAPSC certification.

Sanctions-June, 2013-June 2014

  • Legal compliance-46

  • Conduct with Students-84

  • Alcohol and Drugs-32

  • Honesty-109

  • Public Funds and Property-31

  • Remunerative Conduct-3

  • Confidential Information-7


  • Abandonment of Contract-3

  • Required Reports-20

  • Professional Conduct-65

  • Testing-47

  • Total-447


  • Teachers have two major responsibilities-teach the students and protect them

  • Take testing seriously

  • Be friendly to the students-you are not their friend but a supervisor and role model

  • Honesty and Integrity are important

  • Educators are held to higher standards

  • Educators are mandated reporters if they are aware of violations of Code of Ethics

Contact Information

  • Paul A. Shaw


  • Phone #-404-232-2635

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