MSD Decatur Township Professional Boundaries

    This is an Administrative Guideline to provide employees with a reference regarding professional relationships with students. These guidelines are for the protection of all MSD of Decatur employees. It is the duty of the Superintendent and/or Assigned Representative to provide every employee with due process so each situation will be considered individually. Appropriate exceptions are permitted to the foregoing for legitimate health or educational purposes and for reasons of familial relationships between employees and their children who are students in the District. Staff members are encouraged to build professional relationships with students. In building relationships with students, employees are expected to observe and maintain professional boundaries between themselves and students. A violation of professional boundaries will be regarded as a form of misconduct and may result in disciplinary action and/or termination of employment The following non-exclusive list of actions will be regarded as a violation of the professional boundaries that employees are expected to maintain with a student: Using e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging or social networking sites to communicate with students in an inappropriate, immoral or unethical manner or otherwise to communicate in a manner which is contrary to District policies or expectations. To avoid such impermissible communications, employees are encouraged to adhere to the following guidelines: *Do not discuss with a student a matter that does not pertain to school-related activities. Examples of acceptable items are: the student’s homework, class activity, school sport or club, or other school-sponsored activity. *Electronic communications with students should be sent simultaneously to multiple recipients, not to just one student, except where the communication is clearly school-related and inappropriate for persons other than the individual student to receive (for example, e-mailing a message about a student’s grades). Engaging in inappropriate relationships through social-networking friendships with a student on MySpace, Facebook, or other social networking site. To avoid such impermissible communications, employees are encouraged to adhere to the following guidelines: *Do not “friend” a student on a personal social networking site. *If an employee chooses to not follow the foregoing guideline, the employee’s social networking should not include any material that may diminish the employee’s duty to serve as a good role model for students, include any communication on a social networking site that is inconsistent with other provisions of this policy, or to otherwise include any communication that is contrary to District policies or expectations. Material that employees post on social networks that is available to the public or those in the school community must reflect the professional image applicable to the employee’s position and not impair the employee’s capacity to maintain the respect of students and parents or impair the employee’s ability to serve as a role model for children. Engaging in sexual activity, a romantic relationship, or dating a student or a former student within one year of the student graduating. Making any sexual advance – verbal, written, or physical – towards a student or responding to any sexual advance by a student. Showing sexual or inappropriate materials, photos, websites or objects to a student. Discussing with a student sexual topics that are not related to a specific curriculum. Telling sexual jokes to a student. Teasing that references gender or sexual attraction. Invading a student’s physical privacy. Hugging or other physical contact with a student that is initiated by the employee when the student does not seek or want his attention. Being overly “touchy” with a specific student to the point where the student or students are uncomfortable. Allowing a student to get away with misconduct that is not tolerated from other students, except as appropriate for students with an IEP or 504 Plan. Discussing with the student the employee’s problems that would normally be discussed with adults (e.g., marital problems). Giving a student a ride in the employee’s personal vehicle without express permission of the student’s parent and school administrator unless another adult is in the vehicle. Taking a student on an outing without obtaining prior express permission of the student’s parent and school administrator. Inviting a student to the employee’s home without prior express permission of the student’s parent and school administrator. Going to the student’s home when the student’s parent or a proper chaperone is not present. Giving or acceptance of gifts of a personal nature to a specific student. An employee who is aware of another employee engaging in behavior that invades a student’s personal boundaries should seek the guidance of their supervisor.
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