Staff Use of Internet, Social Networks, and Other Forms of Electronic Communication
Social Networking Websites
The Superintendent/designee will annually remind staff members and orient new staff members concerning the importance of proper decorum in the on-line, digital world as well as in person. Employees must conduct themselves in ways that do not distract from or disrupt the educational process. The orientation and reminders will give special emphasis to:
A. Improper fraternization with students using social networking websites on the Internet:
1. Teachers may not list currently enrolled VTSD students as “friends” on networking sites;
2. All e-contacts with students should be through the district’s computer and telephone system;
3. All contact by coaches with team members shall be sent to all team members;
4. Teachers will not give out their private cell phone or home phone numbers without prior approval of the district;
5. Inappropriate contact via e-mail or phone is prohibited;
B. Inappropriateness of posting items with sexual content;
C. Inappropriateness of posting items exhibiting or advocating use of drugs and alcohol;
D. Examples of inappropriate behavior from other districts, as behavior to avoid
E. Monitoring and penalties for improper use of district computers and technology;
F. The possibility of penalties, including dismissal from employment, for failure to exercise good judgment in on-line conduct.
The Superintendent/designee will periodically conduct internet searches to see if teachers have posted inappropriate materials on-line. When inappropriate use of computers and websites is discovered, the offensive material will be downloaded for review and action.
School staff shall not contact parents’/guardians’ or students’ cell phones unless directed to do so by the parent/guardian or student. School district personnel shall limit cell phone interaction with students to contact that pertains to legitimate school business. Legitimate school business includes:
A. Answering academic inquiries regarding homework, other classroom work or assignments;
B. Scheduling appointments for school related conferences and/or extra help;
C. Clarifying classroom expectations and/or assignments;
D. Notifications related to classroom, club or sports schedules, events, trips, assignments; deadlines.
Cell phone contact with students shall be as brief and direct as possible. When brief contact is not sufficient or feasible to resolve the matter, teachers shall schedule face-to-face conferences during regular classroom and extra-help periods to confer with the students. No contact shall exceed three replies.
Staff shall not send messages that contain material that may be defined by a reasonable person as profane or obscene; messages that are racist, sexist or promote illicit, illegal or unethical activity; or messages:
A. That violate the district’s affirmative action policy;
B. That are personal in nature and not related to the business of the district;
C. That can be interpreted as provocative, flirtatious or sexual in nature;
D. That contain confidential information to persons not authorized to receive that information.
No staff member, coach or volunteer shall text message any student individually. All text messages to students shall be sent to the class, team, club or organization.
School district personnel shall adhere to the following guidelines when sending or receiving messages via internal or external e-mail:
A. All messages shall pertain to legitimate school business;
B. Personnel shall not reveal passwords to others. If a staff member believes that a password has been lost or stolen, or that e-mail has been accessed by someone without authorization, he/she should contact the IT Department immediately. E-mail windows should not be left open on the screen when the computer is unattended;
C. Messages and e-mail files shall be deleted in a timely manner. The IT Department shall ensure that all e-mail records shall be retained for the period of time specified by law (retained 3 years for external correspondence and 1 year for internal correspondence)
D. To ensure that federal copyright laws are not violated, staff shall not send messages that contain text without the author’s permission;
E. Staff shall not send messages that contain material that may be defined by a reasonable person as obscene; messages that are racist, sexist or promote illegal or unethical activity; or messages:
1. That violate the district’s affirmative action policy;
2. That are personal in nature and not related to the business of the district;
3. That are broadcast to a large group of other personnel without supervisory permission;
4. That contain confidential information to persons not authorized to receive that information.
F. Personnel shall become familiar with the district’s policies and regulation on staff and student access to networked information resources before initiating e-mail use;
G. Employees learning of any misuse of the e-mail systems shall notify the IT Department immediately.
When an employee, either within the schools or outside normal duties, creates conditions under which the proper operation of the schools is affected, the board upon recommendation of the superintendent and in accordance with statute shall determine whether such acts or lack of actions constitute conduct unbecoming a school employee, and if so, will proceed against the employee in accordance with the law.
Unbecoming conduct sufficient to warrant board review may result from a single flagrant incident or from a series of incidents. Disciplinary measures up to and including suspension, termination, and prosecution may be recommended. In severe cases of inappropriate conduct, action by the State Board of Examiners could results in the suspension or revocation of the offending staff member’s certificate.
NJSA 18A:6-10; 18A:11-1; 18A: 27-4
Adopted July 2011
The Board of Education requires that every nontenured employee annually sign an employment contract for a term of not more than one year.
The employment contract shall include the date; name of the employee; the beginning and ending dates of service; the salary to be paid and the manner of payment; an authorization for salary deductions as applicable; and such other terms and conditions as may be necessary to a complete statement of the employment relationship.
The contract will include provision for a probationary period in. accordance with Policy No. 4123 and the termination of the contract by either party following the completion of the probationary period on ten days notice.
In the event that the salary entered on the written contract differs from that formally approved by the Board, the salary approved by the Board shall be the salary paid.
Adopted: 21 April 2005
Employment of Support Staff Members
The Board of Education believes it is vital to the successful operation of the school district that support staff member positions be filled with highly qualified and competent professionals.
In accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 18A:27-4.1, the Board shall appoint, transfer, remove, or renew a certificated or non-certificated officer or employee only upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools and be a recorded roll call majority vote of the full membership of the Board. The Board shall not withhold its approval for arbitrary and capricious reasons. The Board shall approve the employment, fix the compensation, and establish the term of employment for every support staff member employed by this district.
The Board will employ substitutes for absent support staff members in order to ensure continuity in a program and will annually approve a list of substitutes and rate of pay. The Superintendent or designee shall select substitutes from the list approved by the Board to serve in the place of an absent support staff member.
The Board may use a private contractor to secure a substitute support staff member.
The Board of Education shall not employ for pay or contract for the paid services of any support staff member or any person serving in a position which involves regular contact with students unless the Board has first determined consistent with the requirements and standards of N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7.1 et seq. that no criminal history record information exists on file in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Identification Division, or the State Bureau of Identification which would disqualify the individual from being employed or utilized in such capacity of position. Employment will not commence until the potential employee submits to the Central Office a copy of their Criminal History Approval Letter with the blue seal of the State of New Jersey.
An individual employed by the Board or a school bus contractor holding a contract with the Board, in the capacity of a school bus driver shall be required to meet the criminal history record requirements as outlined in N.J.S.A. 18A:39-19.1.
The Board will employ paraprofessional school aides and/or classroom aides to assist in the supervision of student activities under the direction of a Principal, teacher, or other designated certified professional personnel. Aides will serve the needs of students by performing nonprofessional duties and may work only under the direct supervision of a teaching staff member(s).
In accordance with the requirements of No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, paraprofessionals hired after January 8, 2002, who work in a program supported with Title I, Part A funds, with certain exceptions, must meet one of the following criteria:
1. Completed at least two years of study at an institution of higher education;
2. Obtained an associate’s (or higher) degree; or
3. Met a rigorous standard of quality and be able to demonstrate, through a formal State or local academic assessment, knowledge of and the ability to assist in instructing, reading, writing, and mathematics (or, as appropriate, reading readiness, writing readiness, and mathematics readiness).
Paraprofessional staff working in a Title I school, and whose salary is paid for in whole or in part with Title I funds, must have met one of the criteria listed above by the end of the 2005-2006 school year. The Superintendent will ensure paraprofessionals working in a program supported with Title I funds meet the above stated requirements.
An individual employed by the Board in any substitute capacity or position shall be required to undergo a criminal history record check in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7.lb.
An individual, except provided in N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7.1g, shall be permanently disqualified from employment or service in the school district if the criminal history record check reveals a record of conviction for any crime or offense as defined in N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7.1 et seq.
The Board or contracted service provider may employ an applicant on an emergent basis for a period not to exceed three months, pending completion of a criminal history record check if the Board or contracted service provider demonstrates to the Commissioner of Education that special circumstances exist which justify the emergent employment as prescribed in N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7.1c. In the event the criminal history record check is not completed for an emergent hired employee within three months, the Board or contracted service provider may petition the Commissioner for an extension of time, not to exceed two months, in order to retain the employee.
No criminal history record check shall be performed unless the applicant shall have furnished written consent to such a check. The applicant shall bear the cost for the criminal history record check, including all costs for administering and processing the check. The district will deny employment to an applicant if the applicant is required and refuses to submit to a criminal history record check.
The Board of Education prohibits any relative of a Board member or the Superintendent of Schools from being employed in an office or position in the school district in accordance with the provisions of N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-6.2 and Board Policy 0142.1 – Nepotism.
A support staff member’s misstatement of fact material to his/her qualifications for employment or the determination of his/her salary will be considered by the Board to constitute grounds for dismissal.
N.J.S.A. 18A:6-5; 18A:6-7.1; 18A:6-7b; 18A:6-7.1c; 18A:6-7.2; 18A:16-1 et seq.;
18A:26-1 et seq.; 18A:27-1 et seq.; 18A:27-4.1.;
18A:27-7; 18A:27-8; 18A:39-19.1
Adopted: October 2014
Assignment and Transfer
The Board of Education and the Superintendent reserve the right to assign and transfer support staff members to the positions for which they are qualified and in which their service will best serve the operation of the district.
The Superintendent is responsible for the assignment and transfer of support staff members, except that the Board of Education is responsible for the assignment of support staff members in the positions of Treasurer of School Moneys, Board Attorney, or Board Secretary, except a Board Secretary who performs business administrator functions.
The Board will transfer support staff members only upon the recommendation of the Superintendent and by a recorded roll call majority vote of the full membership of the Board. The Board will not withhold its approval of the transfer for arbitrary and capricious reasons.
In considering any transfer, the Superintendent shall base the choice on the employee’s success in former positions, the employee’s attitude toward change, the employee’s length of service in the district, the recommendation of the employee’s supervisor, and the operational efficiency advanced by the proposed transfer. No support staff member shall be transferred for disciplinary reasons.
Employees shall be· given written notice of their annual· assignments no later than May 30 of the school year when the assignment will be effective, but may be given notice of reassignment at any time during the year.
Employees may not transfer duties from one position to another nor may one employee perform the duties of another employee without the prior approval of the Principal.
N.J.S.A. 34:13A-1 et seq.
Adopted: 21 April 2005
The Board of Education will enter a contract with each non-tenured support staff member providing, in part, for the termination of employment by either party. The Board may terminate the employment of an employee for incompetence, immorality, unfitness for service, insubordination, reduction in force, or other good cause. Any notification of termination for cause will include a full statement of the reasons for the dismissal on notice duly given a nonprobationary employee.
The Board may terminate an employment contract with a non tenured support staff member only upon the recommendation of the Superintendent and by a recorded roll call majority vote of the full membership of the Board. The Board will not withhold its approval for arbitrary and capricious reasons. N.J.S.A. 18A:27- 4 .1.
An employee who offers insufficient notice of termination will be paid only through the last day of his/her service.
The Board may temporarily suspend an employee with or without pay and without notice when his/her continued services may be inimical to the interests of pupils.
N.J.S.A. 18A:6-10; 18A:17-2; 18A:17-3; 18A: 27-4.1
Adopted: 21 April 2005
The Board of Education shall provide the support staff necessary for the operation of the district in a manner that is efficient and economical.
The Board reserves the right to abolish support staff positions and reduce district staff commensurately whenever reasons of economy, reorganization of the school district, reduction in the number of pupils, or other good cause so warrant. The Superintendent shall continually review the efficiency and effectiveness of district organization and recommend to the Board the creation and abolishment of support staff positions and the reallocation of duties and positions.
When it becomes necessary to reduce in force support staff, the board will follow the Vernon Township Education Association (VTEA) contract, in particular, Article X – Evaluation and Dismissal, Non-Certified Staff; D – “Reduction in Force”, p. 34.
Any reduction in force among non-certified employees will be accomplished by district seniority within the employment categories listed in Article I. In any necessary reduction in force, part-time, non-certified staff person remains in the District’s employ. However, when the lease senior employee is a child specific educational aide and that employee’s services are necessary to the continued progress of the student to whom said employee is assigned, the employee directly above this employee in district seniority will be selected for reduction. Any employee’s seniority will be from his/her most recent date of hire. Unpaid leaves of absence will not break seniority, but no seniority will accrue during unpaid leaves. Part-time, non-certified employees accrue pro rata seniority for each year equal to their percentage of full-time employment.
N.J.S.A. 18A:6-10; 18A:17-4
Revised: May 2006
Nonrenewal of Nontenured Support Staff Member
The Board will renew the employment contract of a nontenured support staff member only upon the recommendation of the Superintendent and by a recorded roll call majority vote of the full membership of the Board. The Board will not withhold its approval for arbitrary and capricious reasons. A nontenured support staff member who is not recommended for renewal by the Superintendent is deemed nonrenewed.
When the nontenured support staff member’s performance does not meet the standards of the district, the Superintendent shall recommend not to renew the support staff member’s contract. Prior to notifying the nontenured support staff member of the nonrenewal, the Superintendent will notify the Board of the recommendation not to renew the support staff member’s contract and the reasons for the recommendation. The Superintendent may notify the Board in a written notice or in executive session at a full Board meeting. In the event the Board is notified in executive session, the Superintendent will comply with the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act and provide reasonable notice to the nontenured support staff member their employment will be discussed in executive session in order for the support staff member to exercise their statutory right to request a public discussion.
The Superintendent shall notify each nontenured support staff member to whom reemployment will not be offered in writing in accordance with the terms of any applicable collective bargaining agreement, individual contract, or any other agreement between the parties. Paraprofessionals continuously employed since the preceding September 30 as a school aide or classroom aide in a school district that receives funding under Title I of the Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 shall be notified of renewal or nonrenewal on or before May 15 in each year in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 18A:27-10.2.
A nontenured support staff member whose contract is not renewed shall have the right to a written statement of the reasons is made within fifteen days of the Superintendent’s written notification of renewal to the support staff member. The statement of reasons shall be provided to a nontenured support staff member within thirty days after the receipt of the request.
Whenever a nontenured support staff member has requested in writing and received a written statement of reasons for non-reemployment, the nontenured support staff member shall have the right to an informal appearance before the Board to permit the support staff member an opportunity to convince the members of the Board to offer reemployment, provided that a request for such an appearance is received within ten days after the support staff member receives the statement of reasons provided by the Superintendent. The informal appearance before the Board shall be held in accordance with the provisions of N.J.A.C. 6A:10-8.1.
The Board is not required to offer reemployment or vote on reemployment after an informal appearance with a nontenured support staff member who was not recommended for reemployment by the Superintendent. The Board may, with a majority vote of its full membership in public session and without the recommendation of the Superintendent, offer the nontenured support staff member reemployment after the informal appearance before the Board. The support staff member will be notified of the Board’s final determination within three days following the informal appearance before the Board.
The provisions as outlined in Policy and Regulation 4146 may be revised or adjusted by the Superintendent of Schools to be in accordance with the terms and timelines of any applicable collective bargaining agreement, individual contract, or any other agreement between the parties provided the terms are not contrary to any statute, administrative code, or any management rights of the Board.
This policy does not apply to the contract renewal of the Treasurer of School Moneys, Board Auditor, Board Attorney or Board Secretary, except a Board Secretary who performs business administration functions.
Adopted: October 2014
The Board of Education directs all support staff members to observe statutes, rules of the State Board of Education, policies of this Board, and duly promulgated administrative rules and regulations governing staff conduct. Violations of those statutes, rules, policies, and regulations will be subject to discipline.
The Assistant Superintendent for Business/Board Secretary shall deal with custodial, maintenance, transportation and cafeteria personnel on disciplinary matters on a case-by-case basis. The Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and Policy shall deal with secretarial and school aides on disciplinary matters on a case-by-case basis. Discipline will include, as appropriate, verbal and written warnings, transfer, suspension, freezing wages, and dismissal; discipline will provide, wherever possible, for progressive penalties for repeated violations.
In the event disciplinary action is contemplated, notice will be given to the employee in ordinary and concise language of the specific acts and omissions upon which the disciplinary action is based; the text of the statute, policy, rule, or regulation that the employee is alleged to have violated; a date when the employee may be heard and the administrator who will hear the matter; and the penalty that will be imposed.
N.J.S.A. 18A:25-7; 18A:27-4
N.J.S.A. 34:13A-1 et seq.; 34:19-1
Adopted: 21 pril 2005
Freezing or Reducing Wages
The Board of Education recognizes that any advancement on a salary_ schedule, including annual increments and raises, is not automatic but rests within the discretion of the Board.
Advancement on any salary schedule shall require favorable reports covering the employee’s competence and thoroughness in the performance of assigned duties as well as the employee’s record of attendance and compliance with district regulations.
The Superintendent shall base a recommendation for wage freeze or reduction on evaluations of the employee’s performance and conduct. The Superintendent must also show to the satisfaction of the Board that the standards by which an employee has been evaluated are not exceptional or unusual and are expected of all employees in a similar classification.
Adopted: 21 April 2005
Support Staff Member/School District Reporting Responsibilities
4159 SUPPORT STAFF MEMBER/SCHOOL DISTRICT
All support staff members shall be required to report their arrest or indictment for any crime or offense to the Superintendent of Schools within fourteen calendar days of the arrest or indictment. For purposes of this policy, “support staff members” shall include all school district employees who hold a position in the school district for which no certificate issued by the New Jersey State Board of Examiners is required.
The report submitted to the Superintendent shall include the date of arrest or indictment and charge(s) lodged against the support staff member. Such support staff members shall also report to the Superintendent the disposition of any charges within seven calendar days of the disposition. Failure to comply with these reporting requirements may be deemed “just cause” for disciplinary action, which may include termination or non-renewal of employment in accordance with law.
Teaching staff members are required to report their arrest or indictment for any crime or offense in accordance with Policy 3159 and N.J.A.C. 6A:9B-4.3.
The school district shall make these reporting requirements known to all new support staff members upon initial employment and to all employees on an annual basis.
Adopted: December 2016