JSerra expects its staff to act in a professional manner with students at all times. Teachers and staff are required to maintain an atmosphere conducive to learning, including maintaining boundaries that are consistent with the legal and ethical duty of care that school personnel have for students. The interactions between adults and students, both in and outside of the educational setting, should be based upon mutual respect and trust, as well as be consistent with the educational mission of JSerra.
Staff members are expected to be aware of the appearance of impropriety in their own conduct and the conduct of other staff when interacting with students. Staff members are expected to notify and discuss issues with their supervisor, the Human Resources Manager, or the President whenever they suspect or question whether their own or another staff member's conduct is inappropriate or constitutes a violation of this policy.
JSerra recognizes that employees may have familial and pre-existing social relationships with parents or guardians and students. Employees should use appropriate professional judgement when they have these pre-existing relationships to avoid violating this policy, the appearance of impropriety, and the appearance of favoritism. When relevant, employees should make these relationships known in advance to the Administration.
Examples of inappropriate boundary invasions by staff members include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Any type of inappropriate physical contact with a student or any other conduct that might be considered harassment under the school's policy on Sexual Harassment
- Singling out a particular student or students for personal attention and friendship beyond the professional staff/ student relationship
- Encouraging students to confide their personal or family problems and/or relationships (unless guidance/counseling staff)
- Sending students on personal errands unrelated to educational purpose
- Disclosing personal, sexual, family, employment concerns or other private matters to one or more students
- Maintaining personal contact with students outside of school by phone, email, social networking, or letters beyond homework or other legitimate school business without including the parent/guardian
- Faculty and staff members should not be alone in a closed room with an individual student. If you find yourself in a room with an individual student you must ensure that the door is opened and secured in that position until the student leaves. Exceptions would be during a lock-down emergency, and Counselors, Nurses and other Staff specifically designated by the President, when necessary to undertake their work
- Students must never be left in a room unsupervised. This includes breaks, lunch, study halls, rehearsal periods, etc.
- Giving a student a ride alone in a vehicle in a non-emergency situation
- Employing a student to do work at the personal residence or property of the staff member without the permission of the parent
- Soliciting phone, email, text messages or other forms of written or electronic communication to students without the supervisor or parent's permission when the communication is unrelated to school work or other legitimate school business. Electronic communications with a student should be restricted to school-related matters and only using your school email address. Do not use a personal email address.
Any of the above violations will be investigated thoroughly and subject to disciplinary action, up to or including termination. Employees should reference the Parent/ Student Handbook for more information on acceptable forms of interaction and maintaining professionalism.
Students and their parents/guardians are strongly encouraged to notify the Administration if they believe employees may be engaging in conduct that violates this policy. Employees are required to immediately notify the President and Human Resources of any employees or volunteers suspected of engaging in inappropriate conduct that violates this policy or procedure.
If employees are suspected of physical or sexual abuse, the above procedure must be followed in conjunction with the procedure outline in the Child Abuse Policy/Investigation of Claims section of this handbook.