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Georgia Professional Standards Commission. The Code of Ethics for Georgia Educators – Fall 2010 Bibb County Presentation. 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


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    1. Georgia Professional Standards Commission The Code of Ethics for Georgia Educators – Fall 2010 Bibb County Presentation

    2. Legal Authority of the PSC Ethics Division

    3. 20-2-984.1. Adoption of a Code of Ethics. (a)  It shall be the duty of the commission to adopt standards of performance and a code of ethics for educators… which are generally accepted by educators of this state.

    4. Definition of Educator 20-2-982.1.(2) "Educator" means teachers and school or school system administrators and other education personnel of this state who hold certificates, permits, or other certification documents issued by the Professional Standards Commission and persons who have applied for but have not yet received or have been denied such certificates, permits, or other certification documents from the Professional Standards Commission.  

    5. 20-2-984.3. …the commission shall be authorized to investigate: • Alleged violations by an educator of any law of this state pertaining to educators or the profession of education;

    6. 20-2-984.3.…the commission shall be authorized to investigate: Alleged violations by an educator: (2) of the code of ethics of the commission; (3)of rules, regulations, policies; or (4) the standards of performance of the commission or the state board;

    7. 20-2-751.7. (d) (3) If the Professional Standards Commission's review of the investigative report results in a sanction against the educator, the educator shall have the right to appeal the commission decision to a hearing before an administrative law judge within 90 days of such sanction.   

    8. The Code of Ethics for Georgia Educators

    9. Standard 1 An educator shall abide by federal, state, and local laws and statutes.

    10. 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.

    11. Reporting the COMMISSION of a Criminal Offense

    12. 20-2-984.2. Requests by Local Boards for Investigation of Criminal Offenses (a)  Superintendents, associate or assistant superintendents, or directors of personnel shall make an immediate written report to the local board of education upon receiving a written report … that any school system educator employed by the local unit of administration has committed any of the following specifically identified crimes:

    13. 20-2-984.2. Requests by Local Boards for Investigation of Criminal Offenses • Murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, or kidnapping, • Any sexual offense, • Any sexual exploitation of a minor • Any offense involving marijuana or a controlled substance • Any offense involving theft • Unlawfully operating a motor vehicle after being declared a habitual violator

    14. 20-2-984.2. Requests by Local Boards for Investigation of Criminal Offenses (b) If the local board of education determines thatthe matters … warrant investigation, thenthe local board of education shall … transmit such report to the commission with a request for investigation.

    15. 20-2-984.2. Requests by Local Boards for Investigation of Criminal Offenses The reporting administrator and the local board of education shall have a good faith, reasonable basis to believe that the incident occurred or evidence existsand shall, in the written report, set forth such basis and detail the nature of the incident, evidence, and names of any and all known witnesses.

    16. 20-2-984.2. Requests by Local Boards for Investigation of Criminal Offenses (c)  The willful failure of any such local school system administrator to comply with … this Code section shall be grounds for the … imposition on the administrator of any of the disciplinary actions set forth in Code Section 20-2-984.5.

    17. ClearanceCriteria

    18. Guidelines for a Clearance: • Misdemeanor convictions that do not involve moral turpitude, except in cases involving sexual misconduct and drug related convictions of CERTIFIED educators. • Convictions prior to the age of 18, except in cases involving sexual misconduct or crimes specified in O.C.G.A. § 15-11-28: murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sexual battery, or armed robbery if committed with a firearm.

    19. Guidelines for a Clearance: • Misdemeanor bad check convictions involving three or fewer convictions with no more than one occurrence within the last ten years or after initial certification. • One shoplifting conviction more than ten years old or prior to initial certification. • Criminal acts not related to any other authorized area of investigation where criminal charges were dropped or dismissed.

    20. Guidelines for a Clearance: • Minor traffic-related incidents. • Affirmative answers in error.. • Reports of termination from employment (prior to initial certification) that do not involve a felony, a crime of moral turpitude or breach of any profession’s code of ethics.

    21. Guidelines for a Clearance: • NASDTEC entries of sanctions that would not be a violation of the Code of Ethics for Georgia Educators • School Systems reports involving non-disclosure of criminal histories or misrepresentation by educators in which the school system is not able to document the allegations of misrepresentation.

    22. Standard 2 An educator shall always maintain a professional relationship with all students, both in and outside the classroom.

    23. A STUDENT is anyone: • enrolled in a Georgia public or private school from preschool through grade 12, or • anyone under the age of 18.

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

    25. Unethical Conduct with Students Includes: • committing any act of child abuse, including physical and verbal abuse; • committing any act of cruelty to children or any act of child endangerment; • committing any sexual act with a student or soliciting such from a student; • engaging in or permitting harassment of a student on the basis of race, gender, sex, national origin, religion or disability; • soliciting, encouraging, or consummating an inappropriate written, verbal, electronic, or physical relationship with a student; • furnishing tobacco, alcohol, or drugs to any student, or

    26. Unethical Conduct with Students Includes: • failing to prevent the use of alcohol or illegal/unauthorized drugs by students who are under the educator’s supervision (including but not limited to at the educator’s residence or any other private setting).

    27. Standard 3 Alcohol or Drugs

    28. Standard 3 An educator shall refrain from the use of alcohol or illegal or unauthorized drugs during the course of professional practice.

    29. Drugs Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: • being on school premises or at a school-related activity while under the influence of, possessing, using, or consuming illegal or unauthorized drugs;

    30. Illegal and Unauthorized Drugsare Always Illegal and Unauthorized.

    31. Alcohol 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.

    32. 20-2-984.1. The … code of ethics …shall be limited toprofessional performance and professional ethics.

    33. Georgia's Legal Definitions for "Under the Influence" An alcohol concentration of 0.08 gramsor more at any time within three hours. Driving - O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391 and Discharging Firearm - O.C.G.A. § 16-11-134 An alcohol concentration of 0.10 gramsor more at any time within three hours. Operation of Watercraft - O.C.G.A. § 52-7-12 and Hunting - O.C.G.A. § 27-3-7 0.04 percent or more by weight of alcohol in a person's blood, breath, or urine. Driving a Commercial Vehicle - O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391

    34. Georgia's Legal Definitions for "NOT Under the Influence" If there was a blood alcohol concentration of0.05 grams or less, it shall be presumed that the person was not under the influence of alcohol. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-392 Driving O.C.G.A. § 52-7-12. Operation of Watercraft O.C.G.A. § 27-3-7 Hunting

    35. Possession Possession of a CONTAINER of alcoholic beverage (not in the blood stream). DO NOT DISCARD the evidence!

    36. Standard 4 Honesty

    37. Standard 4 An educator shall exemplify honesty and integrity in the course of professional practice.

    38. Honesty 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; • information submitted to federal, state, local school districts and other governmental agencies; • information regarding the evaluation of students and/or personnel; • reasons for absences or leaves; • information submitted in the course of an official inquiry/investigation; and

    39. Honesty Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to,falsifying, misrepresenting, or omitting: 6.information submitted in the course of professional practice.

    40. SickLeave

    41. SICK AND PERSONAL LEAVE O.C.G.A. § 20-2-850. Personnel may utilize sick leave upon theapproval of the local school superintendent or an appointed designee for absence due to illness or injury or necessitated by exposure to contagious disease or to illness or death in the immediate family…

    42. SICK AND PERSONAL LEAVE O.C.G.A. § 20-2-851. During any school year, personnel may utilize up to a maximum of three days of any accumulated sick leave for the purpose of absenting themselves from their duties for personal or professional reasons if prior approval of their absence is given by the local school superintendent or his authorized representative; provided, however, that the absence is not in conflict with a local board of education policy concerning school days on which the presence of the personnel requesting absence is essential for effective school operation…

    43. SICK AND PERSONAL LEAVE FTE Funding for Sick and Personal Leave 8 days are funded at $ 18.75 per day for each teacher on the FTE report. No sick leave funding is included for other positions. 8 days @ $18.75 per day = $ 150.00

    44. ChangingGrades

    45. “Grade Integrity Act”O.C.G.A. § 20-2-989.20 “(a) No classroom teacher shall be required, coerced, intimidated, or disciplined in any manner by the local board of education, superintendent, or any local school administrator to change the grade of a student.This subsection shall not apply when a teacher has failed to comply with grading policies or rules adopted by the local board of education or written procedures established by an individual school that are applicable to the grading process, unless such policy, rule, or procedure would require a student be given a grade different than the actual grade achieved.

    46. “Grade Integrity Act”O.C.G.A. § 20-2-989.20 (b)Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to prevent a principal or other local school administrator from discussing the grade of a student with a classroom teacher. (c) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to prevent a central office administrator, superintendent, or local school administrator from changing a student's grade. Any grade change made by a person other than the classroom teacher must be clearly indicated in the student's school records and must indicate the person responsible for making such grade change.”

    47. “Grade Integrity Act”O.C.G.A. § 20-2-989.20 Violation of the above law would be grounds for a suspension. The administrator should inform any teacher whose grades were changed, should document, in the student’s file, the reasons and the justification for the grade change.

    48. Posting Student Grades Under the Name of Another Teacher In order to meet NCLB/AYP requirements, some administrators are posting student grades under the name of teachers who do not provide the primary or direct instruction to students. This is clearly a violation of the “HONESTY” and “Public Funds and Property” Standards of the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators.

    49. Standard 5 Public Funds & Property

    50. Standard 5 An educator entrusted with public funds and property shall honor that trust with a high level of honesty, accuracy, and responsibility.