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Ethics in Education Act. Florida Department of Education Office of Professional Practices Services. “ By virtue of their leadership capacity, teachers are traditionally held to a high moral standard in a community.”. Adams v. State Professional Practices Council (FL 1st DCA, 1981).

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Ethics in education act

Ethics in Education Act

Florida Department of Education Office of Professional Practices Services

Adams v state professional practices council fl 1st dca 1981

By virtue of their leadership capacity, teachers are traditionally held to a high moral standard in a community.”

Adams v. State Professional Practices Council (FL 1st DCA, 1981)

What s new
What’s New

  • Establish Ethical Standards for Instructional Personnel and School Administrators

  • Establish duty of Instructional Personnel and School Administrators to report misconduct of Instructional Personnel or School Administrators

  • Prohibit Confidentially Agreements

  • Require employment history checks

  • Establish Disqualifying Offenses

  • Re-assignment during investigations

  • Reporting of Abuse and Misconduct

Ethical standards
Ethical Standards

§1001.42 and 1012.796(1)(d).

District policies must, at a minimum:

  • establish ethical standards for instructional personnel and school administrators, and the duty to uphold the standards

  • require instructional personnel or school administrators to complete training on the standards

  • establish the duty of instructional personnel and school administrators to report alleged misconduct of instructional personnel or school administrators

  • establish the detailed procedures for reporting

Reporting procedures
Reporting Procedures

  • Designate to whom instructional staff and school administrators report misconduct

  • Inform staff of penalties for the failure to report

  • Explanation of the liability protections pursuant to § 39.203 or § 768.095, Florida Statutes

Confidentiality agreements prohibited
Confidentiality AgreementsProhibited

  • prohibit confidentiality agreements regarding instructional personnel or school administrators who are:

    • terminated

    • dismissed

    • allowed to resign in lieu of termination

    • based in whole or in part on misconduct that affects the health, safety or welfare of a student

      Any part of an agreement or contract that has the purpose or effect of concealing misconduct which affects the health, safety or welfare of a student is void

Employment history checks
Employment History Checks

Prior to employment of school administrators or instructional personnel which require direct student contact an employer should:

  • Review for certificate action through the Disciplinary Action web page

  • Review certificate information and any flags through the Bureau of Educator Certification

  • Conduct reference checks from previous employer


  • Document the findings

Disqualifying offenses
Disqualifying Offenses

  • § 1012.315, Florida Statutes

    • 45 felony crimes

    • 2 misdemeanor crimes

  • Similar federal or other state offenses

  • Registered Juvenile Sex Offenders


  • Conviction

  • Regardless of date of offense or conviction


  • Allegation of misconduct by Instructional Personnel or School Administrator

  • Affects the Health, Safety or Welfare of a student

  • Superintendent in consult with principal must:

    • Immediately suspend, with pay, the Instructional Personnel or School Administrator from regularly assigned duties to position that does not require direct student contact

  • Until completion of the proceedings

Reporting abuse or misconduct
Reporting Abuse or Misconduct

  • Post in a prominent place at each school site and on each school’s web page

    • Policies and Procedures for reporting misconduct by Instructional Personnel and School Administrators which affects the health, safety or welfare of a student

    • The contact person to whom the report is made

    • Penalties imposed for failure to report

Reporting known or suspected abuse and neglect
Reporting Known or Suspected Abuse and Neglect

  • Public and Private school employees are mandated reporters and have a legal obligation to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect to the Department of Children and Families. {Chapter 39.201 Florida Statutes}

  • To make a report call


Reporting educator misconduct
Reporting Educator Misconduct

All employees and agents of Florida public schools, charter schools and private schools that accept scholarship students have an affirmative duty to report educator misconduct.

If you are charged with investigating misconduct -Ensure student safety -Take all allegations seriously


  • Act Immediately

  • Take photographs of the scene or event

  • Secure physical evidence

  • Compile a list of potential witnesses

  • Record known information about the event

  • Remain objective

  • Determine if law enforcement or DCF needs to be called

Do not

  • Assume anything

  • Ignore the complaint

  • Gossip

  • Be defensive

  • Threaten a victim or witness

  • Fail to maintain records

  • Act with prejudice to a personal relationship

Important items
Important items

  • Photographs / Videos

  • Letters / Cards / Gifts

  • Seating Charts / Class Rosters

  • Attendance Records

  • Computer evidence / Emails

  • Text Messages

  • Personnel Records

Common types of allegations
Common Types of Allegations

  • Boundary Violations

  • Sexual Misconduct

  • Inappropriate Comments

  • Inappropriate Discipline

  • Misappropriation of School Funds

  • Criminal Charges

  • Alcohol or Drug Abuse

  • Fraudulent Information/ Credentials

  • Standardized Testing Violations

  • Incompetence

Criminal charges
Criminal Charges

Shall self-report within 48 hours to appropriate authorities…any arrests/charges or incidents involving the abuse of a child or the sale and/or possession of a controlled substance…conviction of finding of guilt, withholding of adjudication, commitment to a pretrial diversion program…

State Board of Education Rule 6B-1.006(5)(m)

Sexual misconduct with students don t think it doesn t happen
Sexual Misconduct with Students…Don’t think it doesn’t happen

  • Overly friendly or familiar contact with students

  • Colloquial conversations with students

  • Preferential treatment toward a student

  • Phone calls, letters, cards, gifts, emails, text or instant messages

  • Sitting in a car alone with a student

  • Meeting a student outside of school

  • Allowing unaccompanied students to visit their home

  • Accepting or offering gifts or favors

Caution slippery slope

Frequently issuing passes to a particular student

Taking a student to a restaurant

Giving a student a ride home

Sitting alone with a student in a dark room

Writing notes or letters to a student

Meeting students before or after school

Communicating to students via cell phone, text message or email

Giving students cards or gifts

Pronounced interest in a student’s home life

Talking about other students

Visiting a student at work

Taking pictures of or with students

Posting photos of students online

Hugs and kisses

Overly friendly pats or rubs on a student

Using pet names

Showing favoritism

Allowing a student to drive a teacher’s personal vehicle

CautionSlippery Slope

Potential negative actions

Potential Negative Actions

Criminal Charges

Adverse employment action

Adverse certificate action

Professional boundaries
Professional Boundaries

Consider how your actions may be perceived by others –

Perceptions are often greater than reality

Contact information
Contact Information

Office of Professional Practices Services

325 West Gaines Street

Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400

Telephone: 850.245.0438