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Standards of Employee Conduct

All employees are expected to work together in a cooperative spirit to serve the best interests of the district and to be courteous to students, one another, and the public. Employees are expected to observe the following standards of conduct:

  • Recognize and respect the rights of students, parents, other employees, and members of the community.

  • Maintain confidentiality in all matters relating to students and coworkers.

  • Report to work according to the assigned schedule.

  • Notify their immediate supervisor in advance or as early as possible in the event that they must be absent or late. Unauthorized absences, chronic absenteeism, tardiness, and failure to follow procedures for reporting an absence may be cause for disciplinary action.

  • Know and comply with department and district policies and procedures.

  • Express concerns, complaints, or criticism through appropriate channels.

  • Observe all safety rules and regulations and report injuries or unsafe conditions to a supervisor immediately.

  • Use district time, funds, and property for authorized district business and activities only.

All district employees should perform their duties in accordance with state and federal law, district policies and procedures, and ethical standards. Violation of policies, regulations, or guidelines, including intentionally making a false claim, offering false statements, or refusing to cooperate with a district investigation may result in disciplinary action, including termination. Alleged incidents of certain misconduct by educators, including having a criminal record, must be reported to SBEC no later than the seventh day after the superintendent knew of the incident. All district employees must adhere to The Educators’ Code of Ethics, adopted by the State Board for Educator Certification.
  • All employees should present themselves in a manner promoting good hygiene and safety while limiting distractions. All employees should present themselves in a professional manner at all times to promote a common thread for success: Employee Dress and Grooming

  • Employees shall not engage in prohibited harassment, including sexual harassment, of other employees, unpaid interns, student teachers, or students. While acting in the course of their employment, employees shall not engage in prohibited harassment of other persons including board members, vendors, contractors, volunteers, or parents. A substantiated charge of harassment will result in disciplinary action. Individuals who believe they have been discriminated or retaliated against or harassed are encouraged to promptly report such incidents to the campus principal, supervisor, or appropriate district official. If the campus principal, supervisor, or district official is the subject of a complaint, the complaint should be made directly to the superintendent. A complaint against the superintendent may be made directly to the board. Any district employee who believes that he or she has experienced prohibited conduct based on sex, including sexual harassment, or believes that another employee has experienced such prohibited conduct, should immediately report the alleged acts. The employee may report the alleged acts to his or her supervisor, the campus principal, the Title IX coordinator, or the superintendent. The district’s policy that includes definitions and procedures for reporting and investigating discrimination, harassment, and retaliationcan be found here: Employee Welfare - Freedom From Discrimination, Harassment, And Retaliation.
  • Sexual and other harassment of students by employees are forms of discrimination and are prohibited by law. Romantic or inappropriate social relationships between students and district employees are prohibited. Employees who suspect a student may have experienced prohibited harassment are obligated to report their concerns to the campus principal or other appropriate district official. Any district employee who suspects or receives direct or indirect notice that a student or group of students has or may have experienced prohibited conduct based on sex, including sexual harassment, of a student shall immediately notify the district’s Title IX coordinator, the ADA/Section 504 coordinator, or superintendent and take any other steps required by district policy. All allegations of prohibited harassment of a student by an employee or adult will be reported to the student’s parents and promptly investigated. An employee who knows of or has reasonable cause to believe that child abuse or neglect occurred child abuse must also report his or her knowledge or suspicion to the appropriate authorities, as required by law. “Solicitation of a romantic relationship” means deliberate or repeated acts that can be reasonably interpreted as the solicitation by an educator of a relationship with a student that is romantic in nature. A romantic relationship is often characterized by a strong emotional or sexual attachment and/or patterns of exclusivity but does not include appropriate educator-student relationships that arise out of legitimate context such as familial connections or longtime acquaintance. The following acts, considered in context, may constitute prima facie evidence of the solicitation by an educator of a romantic relationship with a student:

    • Behavior, gestures, expressions, or communications with a student that are unrelated to the educator’s job duties and evidence of a romantic intent or interest in the student including statements of love, affection, or attraction. Factors that may be considered in determining the romantic intent of such communications or behavior include: The nature of the communications; The timing of the communications; The extent of the communications; Whether the communications were made openly or secretly; The extent that the educator attempts to conceal the communications; If the educator claims to be counseling a student, SBEC may consider whether the educator’s job duties included counseling, whether the educator reported the subject of the counseling to the student’s guardians or to the appropriate school personnel, or, in the case of alleged abuse or neglect, whether the educator reported the abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities; and any other evidence tending to show the context of the communications between the educator and student. 

    • Making inappropriate comments about a student’s body, creating or transmitting sexually suggestive photographs or images, or encouraging the student to transmit sexually suggestive photographs or images.

    • Making sexually demeaning comments to a student.

    • Making comments about a student’s potential sexual performance.

    • Requesting details of a student’s sexual history.

    • Requesting a date, sexual contact or any activity intended for the sexual gratification of the educator.

    • Engaging in conversations regarding the sexual problems, preferences, or fantasies of either party.

    • Inappropriate hugging, kissing, or excessive touching.

    • Providing the student with drugs or alcohol.

    • Violating written directives from school administrators regarding the educator’s behavior toward a student.

    • Suggestions that a romantic relationship is desired after the student graduates,

    • Including post-graduation plans for dating or marriage.

    • Any other acts tending to show that the educator solicited a romantic relationship with the student.

    The district’s policy that includes definitions and procedures for reporting and investigating harassment of students is reprinted below: Student Welfare-freedom From Discrimination, Harassment, And Retaliation

  • All employees with reasonable cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect, as defined by Texas Family Code §261.001, are required by state law to make a report to a law enforcement agency, Child Protective Services (CPS), or appropriate state agency (e.g., state agency operating, licensing, certifying, or registering the facility) within 48 hours of the event that led to the suspicion. Alleged abuse or neglect involving a person responsible for the care, custody, or welfare of the child (including a teacher) must be reported to CPS. Employees are also required to make a report if they have reasonable cause to believe that an adult was a victim of abuse or neglect as a child and they determine in good faith that the disclosure of the information is necessary to protect the health and safety of another child, elderly person, or person with a disability.

    State law specifies that an employee may not delegate to or rely on another person or administrator to make the report. Under state law, any person reporting or assisting in the investigation of reported child abuse or neglect is immune from liability unless the report is made in bad faith or with malicious intent. In addition, the district is prohibited from taking an adverse employment action against a certified or licensed professional who, in good faith, reports child abuse or neglect or who participates in an investigation regarding an allegation of child abuse or neglect. An employee’s failure to make the required report may result in prosecution as a Class A misdemeanor. The offense of failure to report by a professional may be a state jail felony if it is shown the individual intended to conceal the abuse or neglect. In addition, a certified employee’s failure to report may result in disciplinary procedures by SBEC for a violation of the Texas Educators’ Code of Ethics. Employees who suspect that a student has been or may be abused or neglected should also report their concerns to the campus principal. This includes students with disabilities who are no longer minors. Employees are not required to report their concern to the principal before making a report to the appropriate agency. Reporting the concern to the principal does not relieve the employee of the requirement to report it to the appropriate state agency. In addition, employees must cooperate with investigators of child abuse and neglect. Interference with a child abuse investigation by denying an interviewer’s request to interview a student at school or requiring the presence of a parent or school administrator against the desires of the duly authorized investigator is prohibited.

  • Sexual abuse in the Texas Family Code is defined as any sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare as well as a failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct with a child. Maltreatment is defined as abuse or neglect. Anyone who suspects that a child has been or may be abused, trafficked, or neglected has a legal responsibility, under state law, to report the suspected abuse or neglect to law enforcement or to Child Protective Services (CPS). A child who has experienced sexual abuse or any other type of abuse or neglect should be encouraged to seek out a trusted adult. Children may be more reluctant to disclose sexual abuse than physical abuse and neglect and may only disclose sexual abuse indirectly. As a parent or trusted adult, it is important to be calm and comforting if your child or another child confides in you. Reassure the child that he or she did the right thing by telling you. If your child is a victim of sexual abuse, trafficking, or other maltreatment, the school counselor or principal will provide information on counseling options for you and your child available in your area. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) also manages early intervention counseling programs. To find out what services may be available in your county, see Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Programs Available in Your County. Reports of abuse, trafficking, or neglect may be made to the CPS division of the DFPS at 1-800-252-5400 or on the web at Texas Abuse Hotline Website. The following websites might help you become more aware of child abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, trafficking, and other maltreatment of children:

    Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse. Sexual abuse in the Texas Family Code is defined as any sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare as well as a failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct with a child. A person who compels or encourages a child to engage in sexual conduct commits abuse. It is illegal to make or possess child pornography or to display such material to a child. Anyone who suspects that a child has been or may be abused or neglected has a legal responsibility, under state law, to report the suspected abuse or neglect to law enforcement or to Child Protective Services (CPS). A child who has been or is being sexually abused may exhibit physical, behavioral, or emotional warning signs, including: Difficulty sitting or walking, pain in the genital areas, and claims of stomachaches and headaches; Verbal references or pretend games of sexual activity between adults and children, fear of being alone with adults of a particular gender, or sexually suggestive behavior; or Withdrawal, depression, sleeping and eating disorders, and problems in school. Be aware that children and adolescents who have experienced dating violence may show similar physical, behavioral, and emotional warning signs.

    Warning Signs of Trafficking. Child trafficking of any sort is prohibited by the Penal Code. Sex trafficking involves forcing a person, including a child, into sexual abuse, assault, indecency, prostitution, or pornography. Labor trafficking involves forcing a person, including a child, to engage in forced labor or services. Traffickers are often trusted members of a child’s community, such as friends, romantic partners, family members, mentors, and coaches, although traffickers frequently make contact with victims online. Possible warning signs of sexual trafficking in children include:Changes in school attendance, habits, friend groups, vocabulary, demeanor, and attitude; Sudden appearance of expensive items (for example, manicures, designer clothes, purses, technology); Tattoos or branding; Refillable gift cards; Frequent runaway episodes; Multiple phones or social media accounts; Provocative pictures posted online or stored on the phone; Unexplained injuries; Isolation from family, friends, and community; and Older boyfriends or girlfriends. Additional warning signs of labor trafficking in children include: Being unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips; Being employed but not having a school-authorized work permit; Being employed and having a work permit but clearly working outside the permitted hours for students; Owing a large debt and being unable to pay it off; Not being allowed breaks at work or being subjected to excessively long work hours; Being overly concerned with pleasing an employer and/or deferring personal or educational decisions to a boss; Not being in control of his or her own money; Living with an employer or having an employer listed as a student’s caregiver; and a desire to quit a job but not being allowed to do so.

  • The principal and other school administrators as appropriate shall report crimes as required by law and shall call local law enforcement when an administrator suspects that a crime has been committed on campus. The Texas Whistleblower Act protects district employees who make good faith reports of violations of law by the district to an appropriate law enforcement authority. The district is prohibited from suspending, terminating the employment of, or taking other adverse personnel action against, an employee who makes a report under the Act. State law also provides employees with the right to report a crime witnessed at the school to any peace officer with authority to investigate the crime.
  • An employee must notify his or her principal or immediate supervisor within three calendar days of any arrest, indictment, conviction, no contest or guilty plea, or other adjudication of any felony, and any of the other offenses listed below:

    • Crimes involving school property or funds

    • Crimes involving attempt by fraudulent or unauthorized means to obtain or alter any certificate or permit that would entitle any person to hold or obtain a position as an educator

    • Crimes that occur wholly or in part on school property or at a school-sponsored activity

    • Crimes involving moral turpitude

    Moral turpitude includes the following:

    • Dishonesty

    • Fraud

    • Deceit

    • Theft

    • Misrepresentation

    • Deliberate violence

    • Base, vile, or depraved acts that are intended to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of the actor

    • Crimes involving any felony possession or conspiracy to possess, or any misdemeanor or felony transfer, sale, distribution, or conspiracy to transfer, sell, or distribute any controlled substance

    • Felonies involving driving while intoxicated (DWI)

    • Acts constituting abuse or neglect under the Texas Family Code.

    If an educator is arrested or criminally charged, the superintendent is also required to report the educator’s criminal history to the Division of Investigations at TEA.

  • The district’s technology resources, including its networks, computer systems, email accounts, devices connected to its networks, and all district-owned devices used on or off school property, are primarily for administrative and instructional purposes. Limited personal use is permitted if the use:

    • Imposes no tangible cost to the district.

    • Does not unduly burden the district’s technology resources.

    • Has no adverse effect on job performance or on a student’s academic performance.

    Electronic mail transmissions and other use of the technology resources are not confidential and can be monitored at any time to ensure appropriate use. Employees are required to abide by the provisions of the district’s Employee Acceptable Use Policy Failure to do so can result in suspension of access or termination of privileges and may lead to disciplinary and legal action. Employees with questions about computer use and data management can contact Nick Rutherford.
  • Electronic communications include all forms of social media, such as text messaging, instant messaging, electronic mail (email), web logs (blogs), wikis, electronic forums (chat rooms), video-sharing websites (e.g., YouTube), editorial comments posted on the Internet, and social network sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram). Electronic communications also include all forms of telecommunication such as landlines, cell phones, and web-based applications. As role models for the district’s students, employees are responsible for their public conduct even when they are not acting as district employees. Employees will be held to the same professional standards in their public use of electronic communications as they are for any other public conduct. If an employee’s use of electronic communications interferes with the employee’s ability to effectively perform his or her job duties, the employee is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. If an employee wishes to use a social network site or similar media for personal purposes, the employee is responsible for the content on the employee’s page, including content added by the employee, the employee’s friends, or members of the public who can access the employee’s page, and for web links on the employee’s page. The employee is also responsible for maintaining privacy settings appropriate to the content.

    An employee who uses electronic communications for personal purposes shall observe the following:

    • The employee may not set up or update the employee’s personal social network page(s) using the district’s computers, network, or equipment.

    • The employee shall limit use of personal electronic communication devices to send or receive calls, text messages, pictures, and videos to breaks, meal times, and before and after scheduled work hours, unless there is an emergency or the use is authorized by a supervisor to conduct district business.

    • The employee shall not use the district’s logo or other copyrighted material of the district without express written consent.

    • An employee may not share or post, in any format, information, videos, or pictures obtained while on duty or on district business unless the employee first obtains written approval from the employee’s immediate supervisor. Employees should be cognizant that they have access to information and images that, if transmitted to the public, could violate privacy concerns.

    • The employee continues to be subject to applicable state and federal laws, local policies, administrative regulations, and the Texas Educators’ Code of Ethics, even when communicating regarding personal and private matters, regardless of whether the employee is using private or public equipment, on or off campus. These restrictions include:

      • Confidentiality of student records. 

      • Confidentiality of health or personnel information concerning colleagues, unless disclosure serves lawful professional purposes or is required by law.

      • Confidentiality of district records, including educator evaluations and private email addresses.

      • Copyright law.

      • Prohibition against harming others by knowingly making false statements about a colleague or the school system.

  • Employees should not maintain district information on privately owned devices. Any district information must be forwarded or transferred to the district to be preserved. The district will take reasonable efforts to obtain public information in compliance with the Public Information Act. Reasonable efforts may include:

    • Verbal or written directive

    • Remote access to district-owned devices and services
  • Employees are expected to comply with the provisions of federal copyright law relating to the unauthorized use, reproduction, distribution, performance, or display of copy¬≠righted materials (i.e., printed material, videos, computer data and programs, etc.). Electronic media, including motion pictures and other audiovisual works, are to be used in the classroom for instructional purposes only. Dupli¬≠cation or backup of computer programs and data must be made within the provisions of the purchase agreement.
  • The district will not directly or indirectly discourage employees from participating in political affairs or require any employee to join any group, club, committee, organization, or association. Employees may join or refuse to join any professional association or organization. An individual’s employment will not be affected by membership or a decision not to be a member of any employee organization that exists for the purpose of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of employment, or conditions of work. Use of district resources including work time for political activities is prohibited. The district encourages personal participation in the political process, including voting. Employees who need to be absent from work to vote during the early voting period or on election day must communicate with their immediate supervisor prior to the absence.

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