Staff Conduct with Students

Code: DWM

Maine School Administrative District No. 31

STAFF CONDUCT WITH STUDENTS

The M.S.A.D. #31 School Board expects all staff members, including teachers, coaches,
counselors, administrators, and others to maintain the highest professional, moral, and ethical
standards in their conduct with students. For the purposes of this policy, staff members also
include school volunteers.

The interactions and relationships between staff members and students should be based upon
mutual respect and trust; an understanding of the appropriate boundaries between adults and
students in an educational setting; and consistent with the educational mission of the schools.

Prohibited Conduct

Examples of unacceptable conduct by staff members that are expressly prohibited include, but
are not limited to, the following:

            •  Any type of sexual or inappropriate physical contact with students or other conduct that
                might be considered harassment under the board’s policy on Harassment and Sexual
                Harassment of Students;

            •  Singling out a particular student or students for personal attention and friendship beyond
                the normal teacher-student relationship;

              For non-guidance counseling staff, encouraging students to confide their personal
                or family problems and/or relationships. If a student initiates such discussions, staff
                members are expected to be supportive but to refer the student to appropriate guidance
                counseling staff. In either case, staff involvement should be limited to a direct
                connection to the student’s school performance;

            •  Sexual banter, allusions, jokes or innuendos with students;

            •  Asking a student to keep a secret;

            •  Disclosing a personal, sexual, family, employment concerns, or other private matters to
                one or more students;

            •  Addressing students with terms of endearment, pet names or otherwise in an overly
                familiar manner; and

            •  Permitting students to address you by your first name, nickname or otherwise in an
                overly familiar manner.

Before engaging in the following activities, staff members will review the activity with their
building principal or supervisor, as appropriate:

            •  Being alone with individual students out of public view;

            •  Inviting or allowing students to visit the staff member’s home;

            •  Visiting a student’s home, unless on official school business;

            •   Maintaining a personal contact with a student outside of school by telephone, e-
                mail, Instant Messenger or Internet chat rooms, or letters (beyond homework or other
                legitimate school business);

            •   Exchanging personal gifts (beyond the customary student-teacher gifts); and/or

            •   Socializing or spending time with students (including but not limited to activities such as
                going out for meals or movies, shopping, traveling, and recreational activities) outside of
                school-sponsored events except as participants in organized community activities.

Staff members are expected to be sensitive to the appearance of impropriety in their conduct with
students. Staff members are encouraged to discuss issues with their building administrator or
supervisor whenever they are unsure whether particular conduct may constitute a violation of
this policy.

Reporting Violations

Students and/or their parent/guardians are strongly encouraged to notify the principal or other
appropriate administrator if they believe a teacher or other staff members may be engaging in
conduct that violates this policy.

Staff members are required to notify promptly the appropriate building administrator or
superintendent if they become aware of a situation that may constitute a violation of this policy.

Disciplinary Action

Staff violations of this policy shall result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
Violations involving sexual or other abuse will also result in referral to the Department of
Human Services and/or law enforcement in accordance with the board’s policy on Reporting
Child Abuse and Neglect.

Policy to be Included in Handbooks

This policy shall be included in all employee, student, and volunteer handbooks.

Cross Reference: ACAA – Harassment and Harassment of Students
                            JHA – Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect

First Reading:
06/21/2006
Second Reading:
07/19/2006
Adopted: 07/19/2006