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ETHICAL ISSUES FOR ADMINISTRATORS IN THE DIGITAL WORLD. The Education Professional Standards Board has the authority and responsibility to establish standards and requirements for obtaining and maintaining a teaching certificate. KRS 161.028(1)(a).

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The Education Professional Standards Board has the authority and responsibility to establish standards and requirements for obtaining and maintaining a teaching certificate.

KRS 161.028(1)(a).

The EPSB has specifically been given the authority to sanction an educator’s certificate in the following manner:
  • Revoke, suspend, or refuse to issue or renew;
  • Impose probationary or supervisory conditions upon;
  • Issue a written reprimand or admonishment; or
  • Any combination of those actions.

The EPSB may take action against a certificate for any misconduct described in KRS 161.120(1) including violations of the Professional Code of Ethics for Kentucky Certified School Personnel.

misconduct under krs 161 120
a) Convictions for felonies, certain misdemeanors, and any misdemeanor involving a student;

b) Having sexual contact with a student or a minor;

c) Committing any act that constitutes fraudulent, corrupt, dishonest, or immoral conduct;

d) Demonstrating willful or careless disregard for the health, welfare, or safety of others;

e) Physical or mental incapacity that prevents the educator from performing duties with reasonable skill, competence, or safety;

f) Possessing, using, or being under the influence of alcohol, which impairs the performance of duties;

g) Unlawfully possessing or unlawfully using a drug during the performance of duties;

h) Incompetency or neglect of duty;

i) Falsifying information in an effort to obtain or renew a certificate;

j) Failing to report misconduct;

k) Failing to comply with an order of the EPSB;

l) Violating any state statute relating to schools or the teaching profession;

m) Violating the Professional Code of Ethics;

n) Violating any administrative regulation promulgated by the EPSB or KDE;or

o) Discipline from another licensing or certifying jurisdiction on grounds that constitute a violation in Kentucky

Misconduct under KRS 161.120:
separated into three categories of responsibilities
Separated into three categories of Responsibilities:
  • To Students
  • To Parents
  • To the Education Profession
to students
  • Shall provide students with professional education services in a nondiscriminatory manner and in consonance with accepted best practice known to the educator.
  • Shall respect the constitutional rights of all students.
  • Shall take reasonable measures to protect the health, safety, and emotional well-being of students.
  • Shall not use professional relationships or authority with students for personal advantage.
  • Shall keep in confidence information about students which has been obtained in the course of professional service, unless disclosure serves professional purposes or is required by law.
  • Shall not knowingly make false or malicious statements about students or colleagues.
  • Shall refrain from subjecting students to embarrassment or disparagement.

8. Shall not engage in any sexually related behavior with a student with or without consent, but shall maintain a professional approach with students. Sexually related behavior shall include such behaviors as sexual jokes; sexual remarks; sexual kidding or teasing; sexual innuendo; pressure for dates or sexual favors; inappropriate physical touching, kissing, grabbing; rape; threats of physical harm; and sexual assault.

to parents
  • Shall make reasonable effort to communicate to parents information which should be revealed in the interest of the student.
  • Shall endeavor to understand community cultures and diverse home environments of students.
  • Shall not knowingly distort or misrepresent facts concerning educational issues.
  • Shall distinguish between personal views and the views of the employing educational agency.
  • Shall not interfere in the exercise of political and citizenship rights and responsibilities of others.
  • Shall not use institutional privileges for private gain, for the promotion of political candidates, or for partisan political activities.
  • Shall not accept gratuities, gifts, or favors that might impair or appear to impair professional judgment, and shall not offer any of these to obtain special advantage.
to the education profession
  • Shall exemplify behaviors which maintain the dignity and integrity of the profession.
  • Shall accord just and equitable treatment to all members of the profession in the exercise of their professional rights and responsibilities.
  • Shall keep in confidence information acquired about colleagues in the course of employment, unless disclosure serves professional purposes or is required by law.
  • Shall not use coercive means or give special treatment in order to influence professional decisions.
  • Shall apply for, accept, offer or assign a position or responsibility only on the basis of professional preparation and legal qualifications.

6. Shall not knowingly falsify or misrepresent records of facts relating to the educator’s own qualifications or those of other professionals.


The EPSB receives complaints from a variety of sources including parents, KEA, other state agencies like OEA, CHFS, and KDE, as well as from media postings. However, the largest amount of cases are initiated from Superintendent Reports.

A superintendent has the duty to report in writing to the EPSB any certified school employee in the superintendent’s district:

1) Whose contract is terminated or not renewed, for cause except failure to meet local standards for quality of teaching performance prior to the employee gaining tenure;

2) Who resigns from, or otherwise leaves, a position under threat of contract termination, or nonrenewal, for cause;

3) Who is convicted in a criminal prosecution; or

4) Who otherwise may have engaged in any actions or conduct while employed in the school district that might reasonably be expected to warrant consideration for action against the certificate.

the superintendent s report shall contain the following information regarding the teacher
The superintendent’s report shall contain the following information regarding the teacher:
  • Name;
  • Address;
  • Phone number;
  • Social Security Number;
  • Educator’s position name; and
  • The full facts and circumstances regarding the misconduct.

EPSB Division of Legal Services’ Staff reviews all complaints and reports received. If the complaint or report contains credible allegations that if proven true would constitute a violation of KRS 161.120 or the Code of Ethics has occurred, a disciplinary case is initiated against the educator.


An educator is immediately notified when a disciplinary case is opened against him or her and given thirty (30) days from the day of receipt to respond to the allegations in the initial complaint or report.


Upon receipt of the rebuttal or after 30 days, which ever comes first, the case is prepared for review by the EPSB at its next regularly scheduled board meeting.


The EPSB reviews a summary of the initial complaint or report and the educator’s rebuttal in full with all identifying information redacted.

the epsb may make the following determination after the initial review
The EPSB may make the following determination after the initial review:
  • Dismiss;
  • Defer for Training;
  • Admonish; or
  • Refer to full investigation and potential hearing.
The attorney may make settlement offers to the educator if he or she finds the allegations have merit.
If settlement negotiations are not successful or if the EPSB rejects the settlement, a case may be heard.

The EPSB attorney must prove the allegations occurred by a preponderance of the evidence in order for the EPSB to find a violation and sanction the educator’s certificate.

This process is independent of the district’s disciplinary and the tribunal process described in KRS 161.790.

The EPSB’s earliest cases involving the internet involved inappropriate use of technology – specifically educators looking at pornography using school equipment.


If they build it, someone will figure out a way to misuse it.As technology has advanced, so has the use of technology to violate the Code of Ethics.

sexual misconduct cases
Sexual Misconduct Cases
  • Emailing students from home email accounts
  • Instant messaging
  • Text messaging students
  • Communicating with students on social network sites
sexual harassment
Sexual Harassment
  • Teachers sending inappropriate emails to other teachers
  • Administrators sending emails to subordinates
  • Sending inappropriate content or emails to parents
failure to maintain the dignity and integrity of the profession
Failure to Maintain the Dignity and Integrity of the Profession
  • Activities on social networking sites
  • Local blogs/ Comment sections on news sites
  • Photos or Videos on websites like YouTube
confidentiality violations
Confidentiality Violations
  • Release of Student Information in emails
  • Allowing class to be recorded and posted on the web
  • Social Networking – pictures or names of students

Superintendents and Administrators have two separate groups misbehaving on the Internet – Students and Teachers.Remember KRS 620.030 requires all citizens to report abuse, neglect, and dependency.

investigative tips
Investigative Tips
  • Confidentiality, Confidentiality, Confidentiality!
  • Call in the Experts!
  • If a possible crime has occurred, call law enforcement immediately!
technology can be used for good
Technology can be used for Good
  • Hiring: Google candidates or check the most popular sites to see if a candidate has a site and request to be a candidate’s “Facebook Friend.”
  • Instant Communication: use social networking sites to keep parents updated on school issues like field trips.
  • Advancing education: Use an educational tool to supplement classroom instruction.
practice tip
Practice Tip
  • The district should have policies in place for teachers if they want to use a site like Facebook or Twitter for class
  • Set the page up through the district or school technology department
  • Advise parents of the purpose of the site and get permission slips for students to become “friends.”
  • Make sure district administrators have access to all sites.
  • Remind educators that managing the sites is just like managing behavior in the classroom.

Technology is constantly advancing and an administrator has to stay current.

Keep up on the technological trends to stay ahead of potential abuses.

contact us
Contact Us

EPSB Division of Legal Services

100 Airport Road, 3rd Floor

Frankfort, Kentucky 40601


Staff email addresses: