Georgia Ethics for Educators. Rhonda Powers, Professional Learning Coordinator. What are the GA Code of Ethics for Educators?. Set by the Professional Standards Commission 11 Standards Available at www.gapsc.com/ethics. What is the role of the PSC?.
Georgia Ethics for Educators Rhonda Powers, Professional Learning Coordinator
What are the GA Code of Ethics for Educators? • Set by the Professional Standards Commission • 11 Standards • Available at www.gapsc.com/ethics
What is the role of the PSC? • Establishes standards with the input of educators and in response to real need. (Testing standard most recently added.) • Reviews cases submitted by educators or parents or students throughout the state • Determines if action is required: suspension or revocation • Issues suspension or revocation and monitors actions required by educator • Does not recommend criminal penalties, but may testify in civil or criminal actions
How does this relate to me? Educator is defined as: • “a teacher, school or school system administrator, or other education personnel who holds a certificate issued by the Professional Standards Commission and persons who have applied for but have not yet received a certificate. • For the purposes of the Code of Ethics for Educators, “educator” also refers to paraprofessionals, aides, and substitute teachers.”
Ethical Decision Making for Teachers Article • Read the article. • Write a one-sentence summary of each section.
What do you already know? • Pre-test
Eleven Standards Standard 1: Legal Compliance Standard 2: Conduct with Students Standard 3: Alcohol or Drugs Standard 4: Honesty Standard 5: Public Funds and Property Standard 6: Remunerative Conduct Standard 7: Confidential Information Standard 8: Abandonment of Contract Standard 9: Required Report Standard 10: Professional Conduct Standard 11: Testing
PSC Sanctions – 9/12 – 9/13 • Legal compliance-35 • Conduct with Students-80 • Alcohol and Drugs-26 • Honesty-110 • Public Funds and Property-29 • Remunerative Conduct-2 • Confidential Information-4 • Abandonment of Contract-5 • Required Reports-29 • Professional Conduct-37 • Testing-110 • Total-467
Standard 1: Legal Compliance Must abide by all federal, state, and local laws and statutes
Unethical Conduct Unethical conduct includes: • Commission or conviction of a felony • Crime involving moral turpitude • Other criminal offense involving the manufacture, distribution, trafficking, sale, or possession of a controlled substance or marijuana
Standard 1 Legal Compliance, cont. Conviction includes: • Finding or verdict of guilty • Plea of nolo contendere (regardless of whether an appeal has been sought), • Situation where first offender treatment without adjudication of guilt was granted • Situation where an adjudication of guilt or sentence was otherwise withheld or not entered on the charge
Crimes involving Moral Turpitude • Fraud or false pretenses in obtaining something of value • Larceny or a misdemeanor theft by taking • Larceny after trust • Murder • Soliciting for prostitutes • Voluntary manslaughter • Sale of narcotics or other illegal drugs • Pattern of failure to file federal tax returns in years in which taxes are due • Criminal Issuance of a bad check • Make a false report of a crime
Not Crimes involving Moral Turpitude • Public drunkenness • Driving under the influence • Carrying a concealed weapon • Unlawful sale of liquor • Fighting • Simple Battery • Simple Assault • Misdemeanor criminal trespass • Child abandonment • Misdemeanor offense of escape • Misdemeanor offense of obstructing a law enforcement officer • Federal misdemeanor offense of Conspiracy in Restraint of Interstate Trade and Commerce • Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana
Standard 2: Conduct with Students An educator shall always maintain a professional relationship with all students, both in and outside the classroom.
Who are students? • Individual enrolled in the state’s public or private schools from preschool through grade 12 or any individual under the age of 18. • For the purpose of the code of ethics, the enrollment period for a graduating student ends on August 31 of the year of graduation.
Unethical conduct 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 or misconduct toward a student that would violate a state or federal law
Unethical conduct, cont. • Soliciting, encouraging, or consummating an inappropriate written, verbal, electronic, or physical relationship with a student. • Furnishing tobacco, alcohol, or illegal/unauthorized drugs to any student • Failing to prevent the use of alcohol or illegal or 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)
Student Relationship Guidelines Be Friendly, Not a Friend. E-mail Phone Calls Parties Gossip Inappropriate Jokes Photographs
Choose Appropriate Settings Student Relationship Guidelines Home Auto Closet Dark Room
Student Relationship Guidelines Social Networking Don’t accept students as friends and decline any student initiated social network friend requests. Don’t post anything on a website that you would not post on the front door of the school.
Standard 3: Alcohol & Drugs An educator shall refrain from the use of alcohol or illegal or unauthorized drugs during the course of professional practice.
Unethical Conduct: • Being on school premises or at a school-related activity while under the influence of, possessing, using, or consuming illegal or unauthorized drugs • Being on school premises or at a school-related activity involving students while under the influence of, possessing, or consuming alcohol
What is a “school-related activity”? • Any activity sponsored by the school or school system (booster clubs, parent-teacher organizations, or any activity designed to enhance the school curriculum i.e., Foreign Language trips, etc.)
Standard 4: Honesty An educator shall exemplify honesty and integrity in the course of professional practice.
Unethical conduct: 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 government agencies • Information regarding the evaluation of students and/or personnel
Unethical Conduct, cont. Falsifying, misrepresenting, or omitting: • Reasons for absences or leaves • Information submitted in the course of an official inquiry/investigation • Information submitted in the course of professional practice
Standard 5: Public Funds & Property An educator entrusted with public funds and property shall honor that trust with a high level of honesty, accuracy, and responsibility.
Unethical Conduct: • 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 (including fraudulent or purchased degrees, documents, or coursework) • Co-mingling public or school-related funds with personal funds or checking accounts • Using school property without the approval of the local board of education or authorized designee
Standard 6: Remunerative Conduct An educator shall maintain integrity with students, colleagues, parents, patrons, or businesses when accepting gifts, gratuities, favors, and additional compensation.
Unethical Conduct: • Soliciting students or parents of students to purchase equipment, supplies, or services from the educator or to participate in activities that financially benefit the educator unless approved by the local board or education or authorized designee • Accepting gifts from vendors or potential vendors for personal use or gain where there may be the appearance of a conflict of interest
Unethical Conduct, cont. • Tutoring students assigned to the educator for remuneration unless approved by the local board of education or authorized designee • Coaching, instructing, promoting athletic camps, summer leagues, etc. that involves students in an educator’s school system and from whom the educator receives remuneration unless approved by the local board of educator or authorized designee.
Standard 7: Confidential Information An educator shall comply with state and federal laws and state school board policies relating to the confidentiality of student and personal records, standardized test material and other information.
Unethical conduct: • Sharing of confidential information concerning student academic and disciplinary records, health and medical information, family status and/or income, and assessment/testing results unless disclosure is required or permitted by law. • Sharing of confidential information restricted by state or federal law
Unethical conduct, cont. • Violation of confidentiality agreements related to standardized testing including copying or teaching identified test items, publishing or distributing test items or answers, discussing test items, violating local school system or state directions for the use of test or test items • Violation of other confidentiality agreements required by state and local policy
Standard 8: Abandonment of Contract 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.
Unethical conduct: • Abandoning the contract for professional services without prior release from the contract by the employer • Willfully refusing to perform the services required by a contract.
Standard 9: Required Reports An educator shall 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.
Unethical Conduct: • Failure to report all requested information on documents required by the Commission when applying for or renewing any certificate • Failure to make a required report of a violation of one or more standards of the Code of Ethics for educators of which they have personal knowledge as soon as possible but no later than ninety (90) days from the date the educator became aware of an alleged breach unless the law or local procedures require reporting sooner
Unethical Conduct, cont. • Failure to make a required report of any violation of state or federal law as soon as possible but no later than ninety (90) days from the date the educator became aware of an alleged breach unless the law or local procedures require reporting sooner.
Important Note: • O.C.G.A. §19-7-5 requires that suspected child abuse be reported within 24 hours.
Standard 10: Professional Conduct An educator shall demonstrate conduct that follows generally recognized professional standards and preserves the dignity and integrity of the teaching profession.
Unethical conduct: • Any conduct that impairs and/or diminishes the certificate holder’s ability to function professionally in his or her employment position, or behavior or conduct that is detrimental to the health, welfare, discipline, or morals of students.
Professional Conduct Cases • Organized a betting pool with students • Called a student a “heifer” and her mother “stupid” • Gave extra credit to students who contributed to a fundraiser • Left class without permission via a window • Had two loaded guns in desk drawer • Sexually harassed a colleague • Restrained a teacher and tried to kiss her against her will • Sexual interaction with colleague on school grounds
Standard 11: Testing An educator shall administer state-mandated assessments fairly and ethically.
Unethical conduct: • Committing any act that breaches test security • Compromising the integrity of the assessment
Disciplinary Action • Monitor – quarterly appraisal of educator’s conduct • Warning – warns that conduct was unethical. Further unethical conduct will lead to more severe action • Reprimand – admonishes certificate holder for his/her conduct. Further unethical conduct will lead to more severe action • Suspend – temporary invalidation of certificate • Revoke – invalidation of certificate • Deny – refusal to grant certificate
When can disciplinary actions be taken? • Unethical conduct from Code of Ethics • Disciplinary action from another state • Court order for non-payment of child support (O.C.G.A. §19-6-28.1 and §19-11-9.3) • Notification from GA Higher Ed Assistance Corporation of default on student loans (O.C.G.A. §20-3-295)
Any individual whose certificate has been revoked, denied, or suspended may not serve as a volunteer or be employed as an educator, paraprofessional, aide, substitute teacher or in any other position during the period of the revocation, suspension, or denial.
Advice from the PSC … • Take testing seriously • Be friendly to the students – you are not their friend but their 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 the Code of Ethics