The Board of Education recognizes its responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of all pupils within this school district. Furthermore, the Board recognizes there exists a professional responsibility for all school staff to protect a pupil’s health, safety and welfare. The Board strongly believes that school staff members have the public’s trust and confidence to protect the well-being of all pupils attending the school district.

In support of this Board’s strong commitment to the public’s trust and confidence of school staff, the Board of Education holds all school staff to the highest level of professional responsibility in their conduct with all pupils. Inappropriate conduct and conduct unbecoming a school staff member will not be tolerated in this school district.

The Board recognizes and appreciates the staff-pupil professional relationship that exists in a school district’s educational environment. This Policy has been developed and adopted by this Board to provide guidance and direction to avoid actual and/or the appearance of inappropriate staff conduct and conduct unbecoming a school staff member toward pupils.

School staff’s conduct in completing their professional responsibilities shall be appropriate at all times. School staff shall not make inappropriate comments to pupils or about pupils and shall not engage in inappropriate language or expression in the presence of pupils. School staff shall not engage in inappropriate conduct toward or with pupils. School staff shall not engage or seek to be in the presence of a pupil beyond the staff member’s professional responsibilities. School staff shall not provide transportation to a pupil in their private vehicle or permit a pupil into their private vehicle unless there is an emergency or a special circumstance that has been approved in advance by the Building Principal/immediate supervisor and the parent/legal guardian.

Inappropriate conduct by a school staff member outside their professional responsibilities may be considered conduct unbecoming a staff member. Therefore, school staff members are advised to be concerned with such conduct which may include, but are not limited to, communications and/or publications using e-mails, text-messaging, social networking sites, or any other medium that is directed and/or available to pupils or for public display.

A school staff member is always expected to maintain a professional relationship with pupils and school staff members shall protect the health, safety and welfare of school pupils. A staff member’s conduct will be held to the professional standards established by the New Jersey State Board of Education and the New Jersey Commissioner of Education.

Inappropriate conduct or conduct unbecoming a staff member may also include conduct not specifically listed in this Policy, but conduct determined by the New Jersey State Board of Education, the New Jersey Commissioner of Education, an arbitration process, and/or appropriate courts to be inappropriate or conduct unbecoming a school staff member.

School personnel, compensated and uncompensated (volunteers), are required to report to their immediate supervisor or Building Principal any possible violations of this Policy. In the event the report alleges conduct by the Building Principal or the immediate supervisor, the school staff member may report directly to the Assistant Superintendent of Personnel/Policy. In addition, school personnel having reasonable cause to believe a pupil has been subjected to child abuse or neglect or acts of child abuse or neglect as defined under N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10 are required to immediately report to the New Jersey Department of Children & Families in accordance with N.J.A.C. 6A:16-11.1 et seq. and inform the Building Principal or immediate supervisor after making such report. However, notice to the Building Principal or designee need not be given when the school staff member believes such notice would likely endanger the referrer or child(ren) involved or when the staff member believes that such disclosure would likely result in retaliation against the child or in discrimination against the referrer with respect to his/her employment.

Reports may be made in writing or with verbal notification. The immediate supervisor or Building Principal will notify the Assistant Superintendent of Personnel/Policy of all reports, including anonymous reports. The Assistant Superintendent of Personnel/Policy will investigate all reports with a final report to the Superintendent of Schools. The Assistant Superintendent of Personnel/Policy upon reviewing an initial report or the Superintendent, may, at any time after receiving a report take such appropriate action as necessary and as provided for in the law. This may include, but is not limited to, notifying law enforcement, notifying the New Jersey Department of Children & Families in accordance with N.J.A.C. 6A:16-11.1 et seq., and/or any other measure provided for in the law.

This Policy will be distributed to all school staff and provided to staff members at anytime, upon request.

N.J.S.A. 18A:28-5 et seq.

N.J.A.C. 6A:16-10.1 et seq.

Adopted: 17 February 2005

Revised: September 2010

Revised: September 2013