Georgia Professional Standards Commission The Code of Ethics for Georgia Educators 20-2-984.1. Adoption of a Code of Ethics. (a) It shall be the duty of the commission to adopt standards of performance and a code of ethics for educators… which are generally accepted by educators of this state. 20-2-984.1. Adoption of a Code of Ethics. The standards of performance and code of ethics adopted by the commission shall be limited to professional performance and professional ethics. 20-2-984.3. …the commission shall be authorized to investigate: (1) Alleged violations by an educator of any law of this state pertaining to educators or the profession of education; (2) Alleged violations by an educator of the code of ethics of the commission; (3) Alleged violations by an educator of rules, regulations, or policies of the state board or the commission; (4) Complaints alleging a failure by an educator to meet or comply with standards of performance of the commission or the state board; or (5) Complaints alleging that an educator has been convicted of any felony or of any crime involving moral turpitude… Standard 1 An educator shall abide by federal, state, and local laws and statutes. Legal Compliance Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to the commission or conviction of: • a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude. Legal Compliance Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to the commission or conviction of: • any criminal offense involving a controlled substance or marijuana. Legal Compliance Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to the commission or conviction of: • any sexual offense specified in Code Section 16. Legal Compliance Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to the commission or conviction of: • any laws applicable to the profession. Conviction includes: • a finding or verdict of guilty; Conviction includes: • a plea of nolo contendere; Conviction includes: • a situation where first offender treatment was granted; and Conviction includes: • a situation where an adjudication of guilt or sentence was otherwise withheld or not entered on the charge or the charge was otherwise disposed of in a similar manner in any jurisdiction. Simple Definition of “Not Guilty” The District Attorney dismissed the case, or The judge ruled “Not Guilty!” with no qualifiers. Every other ruling is “Guilty!” Reporting the CONVICTION of a Criminal Offense Reporting the COMMISSION of a Criminal Offense 20-2-984.2. Requests by Local Boards for Investigation of Criminal Offenses (a) Superintendents, associate or assistant superintendents, or directors of personnel shall make an immediate written report to the local board of education upon receiving a written report … that any school system educator employed by the local unit of administration has committed any of the following specifically identified crimes: 20-2-984.2. Requests by Local Boards for Investigation of Criminal Offenses Murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, or kidnapping, Any sexual offense, Any sexual exploitation of a minor Any offense involving marijuana or a controlled substance Any offense involving theft Unlawfully operating a motor vehicle after being declared a habitual violator 20-2-984.2. Requests by Local Boards for Investigation of Criminal Offenses (b) If the local board of education determines that the matters … warrant investigation, then the local board of education shall … transmit such report to the commission with a request for investigation. 20-2-984.2. Requests by Local Boards for Investigation of Criminal Offenses The reporting administrator and the local board of education shall have a good faith, reasonable basis to believe that the incident occurred or evidence exists and shall, in the written report, set forth such basis and detail the nature of the incident, evidence, and names of any and all known witnesses. 20-2-984.2. Requests by Local Boards for Investigation of Criminal Offenses (c) The willful failure of any such local school system administrator to comply with … this Code section shall be grounds for the … imposition on the administrator of any of the disciplinary actions set forth in Code Section 20-2-984.5. Standard 2 An educator shall always maintain a professional relationship with all students, both in and outside the classroom. A STUDENT is anyone: enrolled in a Georgia public or private school from preschool through grade 12, or anyone under the age of 18. For the purposes of the Code of Ethics, the enrollment period for a graduating student ends on August 31 of the year of graduation. Unethical Conduct with Students Includes: 1. committing any act of child abuse, including physical and verbal abuse; 2. committing any act of cruelty to children or any act of child endangerment; Unethical Conduct with Students Includes: 3. committing any sexual act with a student or soliciting such from a student; 4. engaging in or permitting harassment of or misconduct toward a student that would violate a state or federal law; Unethical Conduct with Students Includes: 5. soliciting, encouraging, or consummating an inappropriate written, verbal, electronic, or physical relationship with a student; 6. furnishing tobacco, alcohol, or drugs to any student, or Unethical Conduct with Students Includes: 7. failing to prevent the use of alcohol or illegal/unauthorized drugs by students who are under the educator’s supervision (including but not limited to the educator’s residence or any other private setting). Standard 3 Alcohol or Drugs Standard 3 An educator shall refrain from the use of alcohol or illegal or unauthorized drugs during the course of professional practice. Drugs Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 1. being on school premises or at a school-related activity while under the influence of, possessing, using, or consuming illegal or unauthorized drugs; Illegal and Unauthorized Drugs are Always Illegal and Unauthorized. Alcohol Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 2. being on school premises or at a school-related activity involving students while under the influence of, possessing, or consuming alcoholic beverages. Georgia's Legal Definitions for "Under the Influence" An alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams or more at any time within three hours. Driving - O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391 and Discharging Firearm - O.C.G.A. § 16-11-134 An alcohol concentration of 0.10 grams or more at any time within three hours. Operation of Watercraft - O.C.G.A. § 52-7-12 and Hunting - O.C.G.A. § 27-3-7 0.04 percent or more by weight of alcohol in a person's blood, breath, or urine. Driving a Commercial Vehicle - O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391 Georgia's Legal Definitions for "NOT Under the Influence" If there was a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 grams or less, it shall be presumed that the person was not under the influence of alcohol. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-392 Driving O.C.G.A. § 52-7-12. Operation of Watercraft O.C.G.A. § 27-3-7 Hunting ? Under the Influence ? A blood alcohol concentration in excess of 0.05 grams but less than 0.08 grams shall not give rise to any presumption that the person was or was not under the influence of alcohol…, but such fact may be considered with other competent evidence in determining whether the person was under the influence of alcohol… Possession Possession of a CONTAINER of alcoholic beverage (not in the blood stream). DO NOT DISCARD the evidence! Standard 4 An educator shall exemplify honesty and integrity in the course of professional practice. Honesty Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to falsifying, misrepresenting, or omitting: 1.professional qualifications, criminal history, college or staff development credit and/or degrees, academic award, and employment history; Honesty Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to, falsifying, misrepresenting, or omitting: 2. information submitted to federal, state, local school districts and other governmental agencies; 3. information regarding the evaluation of students and/or personnel; Honesty Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to, falsifying, misrepresenting, or omitting: 4. reasons for absences or leaves; 5. information submitted in the course of an official inquiry/investigation; and Honesty Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to, falsifying, misrepresenting, or omitting: 6. information submitted in the course of professional practice. Standard 5 An educator entrusted with public funds and property shall honor that trust with a high level of honesty, accuracy, and responsibility. Public Funds & Property Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 1. misusing public or school- related funds; 2. failing to account for funds collected from students or parents; 3. submitting fraudulent requests or documentation for reimbursement of expenses or for pay Public Funds & Property Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 4. co-mingling public or school- related funds with personal funds or checking accounts; and 5. using school property without the approval of the local board of education/governing board or authorized designee.; and 6. using school system property for personal gain. Standard 6 An educator shall maintain integrity with students, colleagues, parents, patrons, or businesses when accepting gifts, gratuities, favors, and additional compensation. Remunerative Conduct Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 1. soliciting students or parents of students to purchase equipment, supplies, or services from the educator or to participate in activities that financially benefit the educator unless approved by the local board of education/governing board or authorized designee; Remunerative Conduct Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 2. accepting gifts from vendors or potential vendors for personal use or gain where there may be the appearance of a conflict of interest; Remunerative Conduct Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 3. tutoring students assigned to the educator for remuneration unless approved by the local board of education/governing board or superintendent or authorized designee; and Remunerative Conduct Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 3. coaching, instructing, promoting athletic camps, summer leagues, etc. that involves students in an educator’s school system and from whom the educator receives remuneration unless approved by the local board of education/governing board or the superintendent authorized designee. These types of activities must be in compliance with all rules and regulations of the Georgia High School Association. Standard 7 An educator shall comply with state and federal laws and state school board policies relating to the confidentiality of student and personnel records, standardized test material and other information. Confidential Information Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 1. sharing of confidential information concerning student academic and disciplinary records, personal confidences, health and medical information, family status and/or income, and assessment/testing results unless disclosure is required or permitted by law; 2. sharing of confidential information restricted by state or federal law; Confidential Information Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 3. violation of confidentiality agreements related to standardized testing including copying or teaching identified test items, publishing or distributing test items or answers, discussing test items, violating local school system or state directions for the use of tests or test items, etc.; and 4. violation of other confidentiality agreements required by state or local policy. Confidential Information • Annual performance evaluation records of school personnel • Health services provided to an insured • Identifiable individual student performance data, information and reports • School records of students with disabilities • A student's education record Standard 8 An educator shall fulfill all of the terms and obligations detailed in the contract with the local board of education or education agency for the duration of the contract. Abandonment of Contract Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 1. abandoning the contract for professional services without prior release from the contract by the employer, and 2. willfully refusing to perform the services required by a contract. 20-2-211 (a) All teachers, principals, other certificated professional personnel, and other personnel of a local unit of administration shall be employed and assigned by its governing board on the recommendation of its executive officer. 20-2-211 …contracts ... shall be complete in all terms and conditions of the contract, including the amount of compensation to be paid ... during the ensuing school year, and shall not contain blanks or leave any terms and conditions of the contract open. In Allen vs. Lankford, the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that a “teacher’s contract of employment may be terminated by his abandonment of the contract and the acceptance of, or acquiescence in, the abandonment by the school board. This constitutes a rescission of the contract by mutual agreement.” The court went on to say that “Acceptance of a resignation may be made implicitly by the appointment of another in the teacher’s place.” Standard 9 An educator shall file reports of a breach of one or more of the standards in the Code of Ethics for Educators, child abuse, or any other required report. Required Reports Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 1. failure to report all requested information on documents required by the Commission when applying for or renewing any certificate with the Commission; 2. failure to make a required report of a violation of one or more standards of the Code of Ethics for educators of which they have personal knowledge as soon as possible but no later than ninety (90) days from the date the educator became aware of an alleged breach unless the law or local procedures require reporting sooner; and Required Reports Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 3. failure to make a required report of any violation of state or federal law soon as possible but no later than ninety (90) days from the date the educator became aware of an alleged breach unless the law or local procedures require reporting sooner. These reports include but are not limited to: murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, kidnapping, any sexual offense, any sexual exploitation of a minor, any offense involving a controlled substance and any abuse of a child if an educator has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused. What is “reasonable cause to believe?” Former School Principal The educator, a school principal, failed to report sexual misconduct by a teacher. The educator had been informed that a female student was regularly meeting the male teacher in his classroom during lunch and that they were often seen in close proximity. After the male teacher was arrested and charged with four counts of Sexual Assault, the educator confirmed that there were rumors about the male teacher and female students. Standard 10 An educator shall demonstrate conduct that follows generally recognized professional standards and preserves the dignity and integrity of the teaching profession. Professional Conduct Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 1. any conduct that impairs and/or diminishes the certificate holder’s ability to function professionally in his or her employment position, or 2. conduct that is detrimental to the health, welfare, discipline, or morals of students. Standard 11 An educator shall administer state mandated assessments fairly and ethically. Testing Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 1. committing any act that breaches Test Security; and 2. compromising the integrity of the assessment. Other Grounds for Disciplinary Action against a Certificate: 1. unethical conduct as outlined in The Code of Ethics for Educators, Standards 1-11; 2. disciplinary action against a certificate in another state on grounds consistent with those specified in the Code of Ethics for Educators; 3. order from a court or a request from DHR that a certificate be suspended or denied for non-payment of child support; Other Grounds for Disciplinary Action against a Certificate: 4. notification from the GHEAC that the educator is in default and not in satisfactory repayment status on a student loan; 5. suspension or revocation of any professional license or certificate; 6. violation of any other laws and rules applicable to the profession; and 7. any other good and sufficient cause that renders an educator unfit for employment as an educator Enforcing Sanctions The superintendent and the superintendent’s designee for certification shall be responsible for assuring that an individual whose certificate has been revoked, denied, or suspended is not employed or serving in any capacity in their district. Both the superintendent and the superintendent’s designee must hold GAPSC certification. ETHICS TEST What Standards were violated in each of the following cases? The educator failed to properly supervise her 3rd grade class during the showing of a movie, resulting in a female student being molested by male students. The educator also failed to make a timely report of the incident to administrators. A student told her therapist that she and the educator had sexual relations on two occasions, and that the educator had provided her with alcohol and drugs. The educator acknowledged that she may have been too involved with the student and that the student had spent the night at her house on two occasions. The student and the educator intensified their relationship after it was reported. The educator admitted to having spent the night with a student “at least thirty times” and staying overnight in the same room with the student on those nights. Approximately twenty of the over night sessions were at the educator’s residence. The educator resigned in lieu of termination. The educator inappropriately touched several elementary students. The educator admitted that he may have inadvertently touched the buttocks of some of his students as he hugged them. He was charged with six counts of Child Molestation. The educator fled the state with his daughter. The educator admits that she threw a shoe at a student two times. The second time, the shoe hit the student in the nose and upper lip. The student, his sister and two witnesses said that his nose bled. The educator admits that it was a stupid thing to do. The educator, a superintendent, engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate teacher on school grounds, during duty hours and in the presence of staff and students. The educator used school system computer equipment and email service as well as a school system cell phone and cell phone service in furtherance of the inappropriate relationship. The educator made an inappropriate comment to a student. The educator said, “I’m going to start calling you T.S. That means transsexual. You talk like you could live in Piedmont Park.” She emphasizes that it was done in a playful joking manner. Some of the student’s friends said that the educator made reference to the incident at later times. The educator, a Principal, insisted that teachers either assign a grade of 74 or above or provide written explanations for all grades that are below 74. This was for every assigned grade, not only the final one. The educator instituted the non-traditional grading system for his school without Board of Education approval. The educator, an elementary school teacher, was involved in a physical altercation with a student who failed to follow a directive to leave the class. Both the student and the educator fell to the floor with the educator on top holding the student down. She took off one of her shoes and threatened to hit the student. The educator admitted consuming one margarita prior to attending a football game at the school. Witnesses stated that the educator had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage, but no test was given to determine the level of alcohol in the educator’s system. The educator was required to leave the game and arranged for his wife to pick him up at the school. The educator allegedly falsified the dates she observed teachers in the school, and asked one teacher to falsify the date on an observation post-conference form. The teachers acknowledge that the educator came into their classroom, but deny that they were ever formally observed or had a post-observation conference. The educator admits that she asked Teacher 1 to sign and date a classroom observation form with an earlier date. The educator served as a chaperone on a school-sponsored trip to Europe. He admitted that he consumed one alcoholic beverage after hours on three nights of the eight-day trip. The educator acknowledged that he had made a mistake by consuming the alcoholic beverages, but denied that he failed to properly supervise students during the trip. The educator fabricated IEP paperwork by cutting signatures from other documents and pasting the signatures on the fabricated paperwork. She photocopied the paperwork to conceal the cut and paste, and submitted the fabricated, photocopied paperwork to the school system. Additional cut and paste IEP documents were located in the educator’s files. The Applicant was denied educator certification by the state of South Carolina as a result of his criminal history. He had provided alcohol to four minor females and engaged in sex with one of them. The Applicant failed to disclose that he was his denied certification in SC on his PSC application. The educator assigned a year’s worth of grades to a student who did not attend the school. After being confronted with that information, the educator went back and changed the grades to zeros, which gave the student a failing grade for the year. The educator could not document how student grades were assigned. The educator used school system equipment to access and store pornographic material to further his private business (the production and distribution of pornography). The educator attempted to use a fraudulent school system purchase order, on which the superintendent’s signature had been forged, to obtain unauthorized equipment and to have the school system billed for that equipment. The educator submitted to a alcohol breath test and registered .018 and .020. The educator said that he had been drinking the night before in an effort to sleep. The educator submitted to a alcohol breath test and registered 0.18 and 0.20. The educator said that he had been drinking the night before in an effort to sleep. The Educator failed to disclose on his PSC and employment applications that he had resigned a position for a cause and that his certificate was revoked by the State of Florida after he had sexual intercourse with one student and attempted to engage in a relationship with another student. The educator provided a copy of the 7th grade mathematics benchmark test and answer key to her daughter. The daughter created a cheat sheet which she used to cheat on the test. The educator failed to adequately supervise his class during a computer lab. A female student reported that, during the lab, she was forced to perform oral sex on two male students. The educator had no knowledge that the acts were occurring while he was supervising the class. After being advised that a student had a cell phone video of a female student performing a sexual act on male students, the educator, a high school principal, failed to notify the school system’s administration and the students’ parents in a timely manner. The educator also failed to confiscate the cell phone from the student and to dispense consequences to the student in possession of the video.