ETHICS IN EDUCATION POLICY FOR AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL 2019-2020
As a school that participates in Florida Department of Education School Choice Scholarship program, and pursuant to the requirements set forth in the 2008 Ethics in Education Act, please be advised that American High School operates under the following guidelines and laws.
Section 1012.315, Florida Statutes.
American High School, Margate, FL requires a Level 2 criminal history report received for any employee (obtained through the VECHS program). Any employee convicted of an offense listed in Section 1012.315, Florida Statutes is disqualified from employment. The school also continues to screen employees for the offenses listed in Section 435.04, Florida Statutes.
American High School Administration conducts an employment history check before employing instructional personnel or school administrators in any position that requires direct contact with students.
This is completed by contacting the individual’s previous employer and documenting the findings. If unable to contact a previous employer, the Principal will document its efforts. Verification efforts and findings are documented in writing and maintained in the individual employee’s file.
American High School Administration screens new instructional personnel or school administrators using the two employee screening tools developed by the Department of Education. New instructional personnel or school administrators are those individuals employed after the law became effective on July 1, 2008.
All instructional personnel and administrators are required as a condition of employment to complete training on these standards and ethical conduct. 16818 W. Atlantic Blvd, Margate, FL 33063 Tel: (866) 306-0247 | Fax: (866) 306-0466 www.americanhighschool.org
Reporting Misconduct by Instructional Personnel and Administrators
All employees and administrators have an obligation to report misconduct by instructional personnel and school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student.
Examples of misconduct include obscene language, drug and alcohol use, disparaging comments, prejudice or bigotry, sexual innuendo, cheating or testing violations, physical aggression, and accepting or offering favors. Reports of misconduct of employees should be made to the Administrator of American High School. Legally sufficient allegations of misconduct by Florida certified educators will be reported to the Office of Professional Practices Services. Policies and procedures for reporting misconduct by instructional personnel or school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student are posted in the Faculty Room and the administration office and on the web site at www.AmericanHighSchool.org.
American High School Administration uses the Professional Practices Database of Disciplinary Action database to gain access to final orders issued by the Education Practices Commission for a display of a summary of any disciplinary action taken against an individual’s Florida educator certificate. American High School Administration began using this tool immediately to search the names of all instructional personnel and school administrators hired after July 1, 2008, and document the findings.
The Teacher Certification Database (BEC-PASS) database (also known as the Bureau of Educator Certification Partnership Access & Services System — BEC-PASS) will be utilized by American High School Administration to provide information related to an educator’s current certification status and employment history data. Limited access to this database will be developed for private school users. In the meantime, an information request 16818 W. Atlantic Blvd, Margate, FL 33063 Tel: (866) 306-0247 | Fax: (866) 306-0466 www.americanhighschool.org
web form is being used by American High School for immediate use. The Employment Screening Request Form will be used to access the quick navigation bar when logged in as a private school.
American High School completes all required fields on the form and submits a form for each instructional personnel and school administrator employed after July 1, 2008. A representative from the Department’s Bureau of Educator Certification will search for each candidate’s name in the Teacher Certification Database and respond via e-mail to the private school with any findings. The findings may be used to support informed decision making, and American High School maintains the findings in the individual employee’s file. In addition, Administration use the Reference Tool that has been developed to assist private schools in understanding the Employment Screening responses that you will receive. Any inquiries related to the Teacher Certification System to the following web address: EmploymentScreening@fldoe.org
Employee Standards of Ethical Conduct (adapted from the Code of Ethics of the Education Profession in Florida and Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida)
1. Our school values the worth and dignity of every person, the pursuit of truth, devotion to excellence, acquisition of knowledge, and the nurture of democratic citizenship. Essential to the achievement of these standards are the freedom to learn and to teach and the guarantee of equal opportunity for all.
2. Our primary concern is the student and the development of the student’s potential. Employees will therefore strive for professional growth and will seek to exercise the best professional judgment and integrity. 16818 W. Atlantic Blvd, Margate, FL 33063 Tel: (866) 306-0247 | Fax: (866) 306-0466 www.americanhighschool.org
3. Concern for the student requires that our instructional personnel:
a. Shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning and/or to the student’s mental and/or physical health and/or safety.
b. Shall not unreasonably restrain a student from independent action in pursuit of earning.
c. Shall not unreasonably deny a student access to diverse points of view.
d. Shall not intentionally suppress or distort subject matter relevant to a student’s academic program.
e. Shall not intentionally expose a student to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement.
f. Shall not intentionally violate or deny a student’s legal rights.
g. Shall not harass or discriminate against any student on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, marital status, handicapping condition, sexual orientation, or social and family background and shall make reasonable effort to assure that each student is protected from harassment or discrimination.
h. Shall not exploit a relationship with a student for personal gain or advantage. Shall keep in confidence personally identifiable information obtained in the course of professional service, unless disclosure serves professional purposes or is required by law.
4. Aware of the importance of maintaining the respect and confidence of colleagues, of students, of parents, and of the community, employees of our school must display the highest degree of ethical conduct. This commitment requires that our employees:
a. Shall maintain honesty in all professional dealings.
b. Shall not on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, marital status, handicapping condition if otherwise 16818 W. Atlantic Blvd, Margate, FL 33063 Tel: (866) 306-0247 | Fax: (866) 306-0466 www.americanhighschool.org
qualified, or social and family background deny to a colleague professional benefits or advantages or participation in any professional organization.
c. Shall not interfere with a colleague’s exercise of political or civil rights and responsibilities.
d. Shall not engage in harassment or discriminatory conduct which unreasonably Interferes with an individual’s performance of professional or work responsibilities or with the orderly processes of education or which creates a hostile, intimidating, abusive, offensive, or oppressive environment; and, further, shall make reasonable effort to assure that each individual is protected from such harassment or discrimination.
e. Shall not make malicious or intentionally false statements about a colleague.
American High School, Margate Florida has adopted policies establishing standards of ethical conduct for instructional personnel, school counselors and school administrators.
The Florida Administrative Code, Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida is available on the Principles of Professional Conduct for Education Professional in Florida Web site as a resource
American High School, Margate, FL requires all instructional personnel, counselors and school administrators to attend Code of Ethics training before they begin employment. Documentation demonstrating that each employee and school administrator completed training is a requirement of the compliance application/renewal process.
In addition, teachers receive yearly trainings at the beginning of the school year on the following points. 16818 W. Atlantic Blvd, Margate, FL 33063 Tel: (866) 306-0247 | Fax: (866) 306-0466 www.americanhighschool.org
• A review of ethical conduct to establish the duty to report, and procedures for reporting, alleged employee or administrator misconduct that affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student.
• A review of the standards must provide an explanation of the employee liability protections provided under ss.
39.203 and 768.095, F.S.
American High School, Margate, FL prohibits confidentiality agreements with instructional personnel or school administrators who are dismissed, terminated, or resign in lieu of termination due to misconduct that affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student. Any reference provided to a potential employer in an educational setting must disclose the misconduct.
American High School will post a notice at the school stating that all employees have a duty to report actual or suspected cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect. These will be located around the School.
The notice includes the statewide toll-free abuse hotline number (1-800-96ABUSE).
The sample notice downloaded from the Office of Professional Practices Services Web site under the “Abuse” heading is used. Further information about reporting abuse may also be found on the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Web site.
Any person, official, or institution participating in good faith in any act authorized or required by law, or reporting in good faith any instance of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect to the department or any law enforcement agency, shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability which might otherwise result by reason of such action. (F.S. 39.203) An employer who discloses information about a former or current employee to a 16818 W. Atlantic Blvd, Margate, FL 33063 Tel: (866) 306-0247 | Fax: (866) 306-0466 www.americanhighschool.org
prospective employer of the former or current employee upon request of the prospective employer or of the former or current employee is immune from civil liability for such disclosure or its consequences unless it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that the information disclosed by the former or current employer was knowingly false or violated any civil right of the former or current employee protected under F.S. Chapter 760. (F.S. 768.095)
American High School will post at the school site and on the school’s Web site the policies and procedures for reporting misconduct by instructional personnel or school administrator, which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student.
Reporting Child Abuse, Abandonment or Neglect
All employees and agents have an affirmative duty to report all actual or suspected cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect. Call 1-800-96-ABUSE or report online at: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/report/.
Signs of Physical Abuse The child may have unexplained bruises, welts, cuts, or other injuries; broken bones; or burns. A child experiencing physical abuse may seem withdrawn or depressed, seem afraid to go home or may run away, shy away from physical contact, be aggressive, or wear inappropriate clothing to hide injuries.
Signs of Sexual Abuse The child may have torn, stained or bloody underwear, trouble walking or sitting, pain or itching in genital area, or a sexually transmitted disease. A child experiencing sexual abuse may have unusual knowledge of sex or act seductively, fear a particular person, seem withdrawn or depressed, gain or lose weight suddenly, shy away from physical contact, or run away from home. 16818 W. Atlantic Blvd, Margate, FL 33063 Tel: (866) 306-0247 | Fax: (866) 306-0466 www.americanhighschool.org
Signs of Neglect The child may have unattended medical needs, little or no supervision at home, poor hygiene, or appear underweight. A child experiencing neglect may be frequently tired or hungry, steal food, or appear overly needy for adult attention. Patterns of Abuse
Serious abuse usually involves a combination of factors. While a single sign may not be significant, a pattern of physical or behavioral signs is a serious indicator and should be reported
Sample notices available under the “Misconduct” heading on the Office of Professional Practices Services Web site have been utilized.
American High School’s Ethics in Education policy states that legally sufficient allegations of misconduct by Florida certified educators must be reported to the Office of Professional Practices Services using the Educator Misconduct Reporting Form. More information about this form and its use is available on the Office of Professional Practices Services Web site.