coeqt_WMPOut

♪♪

>> Dr. Burnham: Hello.

I am pleased to have
this opportunity

to bring you greetings
from the staff

of the Mississippi Department
of Education

and also the State Board
of Education

and to thank each of you
for the hard work

dedication
and commitment

to the students
of Mississippi

that you display
each and every day.

As educators, you
truly have one of the most

challenging jobs
in our society.

But your job as educator
is so important because

you are the critical
factor in the lives

of so many children
in our state.

If we reflect back
to our school years,

many of us remember having
a great teacher,

that we truly admired

one who was a true
professional with

high standards
and strong character.

Many of you may have
decided to join

the teaching profession
because of the role

that teacher played in your
life and because you want

to make
a positive difference

in the lives
of children.

In the spring
of this year,

the State Board of
Education approved the new

Mississippi Educator
Code of Ethics.

Other states have had
a code of ethics

for teachers
and administrators

for many years.

Other professions in our
state also have a code

of ethics- nurses,
doctors, lawyers,

engineers and others- all
have standards of approved

conduct for
their profession.

Our hope is that the
Mississippi Educator Code

of Ethics and Standards
of Conduct will protect

the health, safety and general
welfare of our students

and also set clear
guidelines that help

protect you as
an educator.

 

>> Cindy Coon: Why has the
State Board of Education

approved a code of
ethics for educators?

Over the last
several years,

we have had a serious
increase in educator

misconduct cases in our state,
especially sexual misconduct

between teachers
and students.

In 2010, State
Superintendent,

Dr. Tom Burnham convened
a task force to study

the issue of educator
misconduct.

When the task force began
to construct the code

of ethics, they looked at
the codes from many other

states and from other
professions to create

a format for our code of
ethics and to establish

the standards of conduct
that they felt were most

important for our
Mississippi educators.

The code that was
developed contains

10 standards
of conduct.

Each standard is defined
under each standard

and there are examples
of what is ethical conduct

and what is unethical
conduct for that standard.

The introduction to
the Code of Ethics says:

 

Each local school board
will make the decision

whether to require the
code of ethics for all

employees, both certified
and non-certified.

 

The 10 Standards
of Conduct that

are included in the MS
Educator Code of Ethics are:

Standard 1:
Professional Conduct

An educator should
demonstrate conduct

that follows
generally recognized

professional standards.

Standard 2: Trustworthiness

An educator should exemplify

honesty and integrity in
the course of professional

practice and does not
knowingly engage

in deceptive practices
regarding official

policies of
the school district

or educational institution.

Standard 3: Unlawful Acts

An educator shall
abide by federal,

state, and local
laws and statutes

and local school
board policies.

Standard 4: Educator/Student
Relationships

An educator should
always maintain

a professional relationship
with all students

both in and outside
the classroom.

Standard 5: Educator
Collegial Relationships

An educator should
always maintain

a professional relationship

with colleagues, both in
and outside the classroom

Standard 6: Alcohol, Drug and
Tobacco Use or Possession

An educator should refrain
from the use of alcohol

and/or tobacco during the
course of professional

practice and should
never use illegal

or unauthorized drugs.

Standard 7: Public
Funds and Property

An educator shall not

knowingly
misappropriate, divert,

or use funds,
personnel, property,

or equipment committed
to his or her charge

for personal gain
or advantage.

Standard 8: Remunerative Conduct

An educator should
maintain integrity

with students,
colleagues

parents, patrons, or
businesses when accepting

gifts, gratuities, favors

and additional
compensation.

Standard 9: Maintenance
of Confidentiality

An educator shall comply
with state and federal laws

and local school board
policies relating

to confidentiality of student
and personnel records,

standardized
test material,

and other information
covered

by confidentiality agreements.

Standard 10.: Breach of Contract
or Abandonment of Employment

An educator should
fulfill all of the terms

and obligations detailed
in the contract

with the local school board
or educational agency

for the duration
of the contract.

Along with the
approval of the Code

of Ethics, the State Board
of Education also approved

a change to the employment
contract for all teachers

and administrators in
Mississippi school districts.

Your contract now
contains language

above the signature
line that says:

 

As you sign your
contract to teach

in Mississippi, you
are making a promise

to your school administration
and, more importantly,

to the children under your
care and their parents,

that you will be a person
of character and integrity

as you adhere to
the Code of Ethics.

Since the approval of
the Code of Ethics,

the Licensure office has
received many questions

about the implementation
of these standards

and specifically, which
violations should be

reported to the MS
Department of Education

and which ones could
cause an educator

to lose their license.

 

All other violations
of the Educator Code of

Ethics should be addressed
by the local school

district.

Failure to report sexual
involvement of a school

employee with a student as
required by state law may

result in the revocation
or suspension the license.

The Code of Ethics was
generated originally

because of repeated
violations in our state

of Standard 4 that deals
with inappropriate

relationships between
teachers and students.

If a school district
conducts an investigation

and has documented
evidence that a teacher

and student have
had an inappropriate

relationship, they are
required by law to report

that educator to the
office of Licensure along

with the
documented evidence.

Our Certification
Commission will conduct

a due process hearing in
accordance with state law

to determine whether
an educator license

will be revoked
or suspended.

During the 2011 session,

the Legislature passed
House Bill 641 to address

the issue of sexual
misconduct of an educator

with a student.

Please take a moment
to review the following slides.

 

♪♪

 

>> Jim Keith: Now
that you have been given

information about
the Code of Ethics,

let me discuss
further Standard 4,

Educator/Student
Relationships.

Violation of this
standard may result

in criminal liability,
civil liability and loss

of your educator license.

Further, these situations
receive widespread

publicity with pictures
of employees published

in newspapers, television
and other forms of media.

Violation of Standard 4
results in tremendous

disruption to the
school environment

and the local community.

No school needs the
turmoil created when one

of its employees
violates Standard 4.

While a small percentage
of educators have been

found to engage
in inappropriate

relationships
with students,

one is too many.

As educators, we cannot
allow it to happen in our

school community.

While teachers are not
required by statute

to report sexual activity
between a student

and educator to the District
Attorney or the Department

of Education, principals
and superintendents

are required to
make such reports.

Furthermore, teachers are
required to report child

abuse to the Department
of Human Services,

and sexual involvement
between an educator

and a student is a
form of child abuse.

How can you make sure you
do not violate Standard 4?

When you read Standard 4,
you will notice that there

are some examples

of unethical conduct
provided.

For example, unethical
conduct includes

sexual jokes, sexual remarks,
sexual kidding or teasing,

sexual innuendo,
inappropriate touching,

fondling, kissing
or grabbing.

Some not so obvious
examples include texting

and "friending" on
social networks.

However, inappropriate
relationships that you have

read about in the news
media were characterized

by extensive texting
relationships

and social relationships carried
out over social networks.

These examples of
social media allow

the establishment of personal
relationships that violate

the professional
educator/student

relationship that must be
exercised at all times.

Educators are in a
position of great

influence over students
and thus must take

every precaution
to maintain

an appropriate relationship
with students.

Texting students and
participating in social

networks destroys the
professional boundary

between educators and
students and allows

the establishment

of an inappropriate
personal relationship.

I have had the unpleasant
experience of having

to represent school districts
in circumstances where

an educator became
inappropriately involved

with a student.

Some of those educators
are now serving time

in Parchman, having
ruined their careers,

personal lives and having
had a tremendous negative

impact on the life
of the young person

with whom
they were involved.

As educators you must
remember that you are not

peers with your students.

You are not their
buddies, pals or friends.

You are your
students' teachers,

principal and
superintendents.

By making sure that you
maintain that professional

line of demarcation
between yourself

and your students, and refuse
to come close to that line

through means such
as texting and social

networking, you will
be able to ensure

that you do not
violate Standard 4.

You owe it to each other
in your school community

to ensure than no educator
violates Standard 4.

But most of all, you
owe it to your students.

 

>> Mike Waldrop: I'm Mike
Waldrop, Executive Director

of the Mississippi
School Boards Association.

On behalf of MSBA,
I am appreciative

of the opportunity of
being a part of bringing

to you this training
video on implementing

the provisions of new "MS
Educators Code of Conduct".

MSBA had a voice in the
development of this Code

and fully supports
the provisions

of the Educators
Code of Conduct.

To assist school districts
as they implement the

provisions of
this new Code,

MSBA has
developed a policy

for local school
districts to use.

School Districts may
access this policy

by going
to MSBA's website.

Please call on us at MSBA
if we can be of assistance

to you as you
implement this new law.

 

>> Charles McClelland: On
behalf of the State Board

of Education, we would
like to thank each of you

for your dedication and
commitment to education

in the State of Mississippi.

The Mississippi Board of
Education's top priority

is the safety and
security of all children.

Earlier this year, we
adopted the Mississippi

Educator Code of Ethics
and Standards of Conduct,

we had in mind the
safety and security

of our children.

These standards set clear
guidelines of professional

behavior for teachers
and administrators;

something our state has
needed for a long time.

The guidelines will not
only protect students,

but will also protect you.

As administrators
and teachers,

you play a key role
in making sure

that our children have a
safe learning environment.

I hope each of you have
a successful school year.