Employee Code of Conduct and Ethics
The Geneva School Code of Ethics
- To maintain the Christian witness of the school, all members of the board, administration and faculty (as well as all delegated representatives of the school) must conform to biblical ethical standards at all times.
- All employees have an obligation and legal responsibility to report misconduct by school employees which affects the health, safety or welfare of a student. They should report allegations or suspicion of misconduct to the headmaster, document the activities or details of the event, and secure evidence (if applicable).
- The headmaster will review any reported misconduct and determine what action is needed. The headmaster will be responsible for completing the Educator Misconduct Reporting Form and submitting to the Florida Department of Education.
- Employees will be immune from liability in accordance with Florida Statutes 39.203 and 768.095.
Training on the Employee Standards of Ethical Conduct will be done during Teacher Training. All instructional personnel and administrators will sign off that they have received this training.
Guidelines and Procedures for Reporting Professional Misconduct
All employees have an obligation and legal responsibility to report misconduct by school employees which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student.
The following behavior may be indicative of misconduct that should be reported:
- Being alone with a student in dark or closed room or secluded area
- Behaving in an overly friendly or familiar way or failing to maintain an appropriate professional boundary with a student
- Displaying verbal or non-verbal sexual behavior with a student
- Dating any of the students
- Using forceful or unnecessary physical contact with a student
- Administering discipline not compliant with school policy
- Accepting or offering of gifts for return of a favor or privilege from students or colleagues
- Badgering or habitually teasing a student
- Mocking, belittling, or chronically embarrassing a student
- Displaying prejudice or bigotry against a student
- Suspicion of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to properly supervise students or to ensure student safety
- Cheating, falsifying information, or testing violations
- Retaliating against a student or colleague for reporting misconduct
- Bantering or engaging in colloquial or slang communications with a student
- Directing or using profane, offensive, or explosive language in the presence of students
- Making lewd or suggestive comments or overtures toward a student or colleague
How to report misconduct:
- Report allegations or suspicion of misconduct by school staff or volunteers to the headmaster.
- Report allegations or suspicion of misconduct by headmaster to the board of The Geneva School.
- Document the activities or details of the event.
- Secure the evidence (if applicable).
Possible penalties for failure to report may include: written reprimand, suspension with or without pay, termination of employment or sanctions on an educator’s certificate.
The headmaster will review any reported misconduct and determine what action is needed. For any legally sufficient allegations of misconduct, The Educator Misconduct Reporting Form will be completed and sent to the Florida Department of Education, Office of Professional Practices Services, 325 West Gaines St., Suite 224-E, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0400.
The Geneva School Child Abuse Prevention Policy
PURPOSE: It is the purpose and intent of The Geneva School to provide a safe, secure environment to teach and care for the students of our school family.
GOALS: Our goals are to protect children from sexual abuse, child molestation or any type of inappropriate sexual behavior by employees or volunteers in this school; to protect employees and volunteers from false accusations; and to make the staff aware of signs that may indicate abuse by others.
- A Minor Child is any individual under the age of 19 years.
- Abuse means any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual injury or harm that causes or is likely to cause the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired. Abuse of a child includes acts or omissions. Corporal discipline of a child by a parent or legal custodian for disciplinary purposes does not in itself constitute abuse when it does not result in harm to the child.
- Neglect occurs when a child is deprived of, or is allowed to be deprived of, necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment or a child is permitted to live in an environment when such deprivation or environment causes the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired or to be in danger of being significantly impaired. Neglect of a child includes acts or omissions.
- Abandoned or “abandonment” occurs when the parent or legal custodian of a child or, in the absence of a parent or legal custodian, the caregiver, while being able, makes no provision for the child’s support and has failed to establish or maintain a substantial and positive relationship with the child.
CHILD ABUSE: WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Child Abuse manifests itself in a number of ways, including physical, emotional, sexual, and neglect issues.
Signs of Physical Abuse
The Child may have unexplained:
- bruises, welts, cuts, or other injuries
- broken bones
A child experiencing physical abuse may:
- seem withdrawn or depressed
- seem afraid to go home, may run away or show anxiety when approaching school campus or classroom
- shy away from physical contact
- be nervous or show hostile behavior toward adults
- wear inappropriate clothing to hide injuries
Signs of Neglect
The child may have:
- unattended medical needs
- little or no supervision at home
- poor hygiene
- appear underweight
A child experiencing neglect may:
- be frequently tired or hungry
- steal food
- appear overly needy for adult attention
WHAT IS CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE?
- Child Sexual Abuse is a Crime: “Child sexual abuse is a criminal behavior that involves children in sexual behavior for which they are not personally, socially, and developmentally ready.” (Church Law & Tax Report, Reducing the Risk of Child Sexual Abuse in Your Church, 1993, p. 13)
- General Definition: A general definition of child sexual abuse consists of “any form of sexual contact or exploitation in which a minor is being used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator.” (Church Law & Tax Report, Reducing the Risk of Child Sexual Abuse in Your Church, 1993, p. 13)
- Common Definition: “Any sexual activity with a child—whether in the home by a caretaker, in a day care situation, a foster/residential setting, or in any other setting, including on the street by a person unknown to the child. The abuser may be an adult, an adolescent, or another child, provided the child is four (4) years older than the victim.” (National Resource Center on Child Abuse, 1992)
Signs of Sexual Abuse
The child may have:
- torn, stained or bloody underwear
- trouble walking or sitting
- pain or itching in genital area
- 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
- run away from home
Look for the Patterns
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.
If a child tells YOU about abuse:
- Be a good listener. Show that you understand and believe what the child tells you. Encourage, but don’t pressure him/her to talk. Ask open ended questions.
- Be supportive. Tell the child he/she did the right thing by coming to you. Stress that he/she is not to blame. Let the child know that you want to help.
- Don’t overreact. This can frighten the child or prevent him/her from telling you more. Do not talk negatively about the suspected abuser in front of the child.
- Document and report it. Document your conversation as soon as you can. If possible, write down the child’s exact words.
- Don’t delay. Never assume someone else will report the abuse. The sooner it’s reported, the sooner the child and their family can be helped.
EMPLOYEE DEFENSE COST BENEFIT
The Geneva School agrees to indemnify the “employee” for “defense costs” for alleged abusive conduct with a maximum benefit of $25,000. If, however, there is an adverse judgment, the “employee” agrees to repay The Geneva School or their insurance carrier for said costs.
All employees must report any actual or suspected child abuse, abandonment or neglect to the headmaster or dean of students. This contact person will discuss the situation to ensure that the appropriate reports, if any are needed, are completed. They will also call the statewide toll-free abuse hotline number (1-800-96-ABUSE) or report it online at: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/report, if needed. Employees will comply with child protective investigations.