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Ethics for Educators

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Paul Leblanc

on 23 September 2013

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Transcript of Ethics for Educators

Ethics for Educators
21st Century Educator Ethics
Ethics Activity
Take 15 minutes to review the provided Educator Code of Ethics.

Discuss at your table areas of ethics that you think need to be addressed.

Select one to report to the group with the justification of why it needs to be addressed and how it can be addressed at the campus/division level.
Educator Ethics for the Ages
From the beginning of time educators have always been held to higher standards:

B.C. - Early philosophers Plato, Socrates recognized the value of virtue on the part of educators (sophists).
A.D. - Origins of first teachers come from the church and served a ministerial role as being educated was considered Godly.

Throughout time societies have never separated the individual from the occupation of teaching.
Rules for teachers in 1872
Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys.

Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day's session.

Make your pens carefully. You many whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.

Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.

After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.

Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.

Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden to society.

Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in nay form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will given reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity, and honesty.

The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves.

Alteration of checks after signed

Purchase of items for personal business after hours or weekends

Conflicts of interest


Unauthorized travel charges

Types of Fraud Con’t….

Petty cash transactions fictitious for consumable supplies

Checks to cash


Money laundering

Duplicate invoices to pay vendors

Types of Fraud Con’t….

Timesheets falsified

Pilfering supplies

Pocketing payment on accounts

Not depositing all cash receipts

Types of Fraud
Fraud involving campus/district funds

Sexual misconduct/Boundary Violations

Common Areas of Educator Misconduct:

Not depositing all checks

Paying for personal expenses

Fictitious transactions

Fictitious companies

Excess charges through conflicts of interest

Kick backs


Types of Fraud Con’t….

And a child humanized or de-humanized.

Dr. Haim Ginott

I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.

As a teacher I possess tremendous power to
Make a child’s life miserable or joyous.

It is my daily mood that makes the weather.

I am the decisive element in the classroom.

What causes a seemingly normal, educated, professional to have such a lapse in judgment?

“I lost my wife, my job, my possessions, my career, my life’s dreams, my freedom, and my dignity all in a three-month period.”

JASON MURPHY, former Corpus Christi Carroll assistant football coach, after pleading guilty to charges of sexual assault of a student.

"...the skills necessary to become an outstanding educator are also skills that enable those who would betray their trust and harm children . . ."

Doug Bates, Ph.D., J.D. (deceased 5/2000. Former school teacher, administrator & attorney with the Utah Dept. of Ed. & NASDTEC)

In all situations it is my response that decides
whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated…

I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.

It is my personal approach that creates the climate.

With touch:
Consider the age, sex, and perception (maturity) of the child
Use touch only to praise or comfort
Briefly touch only the shoulder or arm
Ensure there is another adult present
Other concerns:
Don’t spend significant out-of-school time
Limit time spent behind closed doors/do not cover classroom windows or obstruct views into instructional areas
Don’t give individual gifts
Avoid use of innuendo with students
Don’t share overly personal or private information
Don’t ignore your gut instincts, suspicions

Steps to Prevent Sexual Misconduct: Boundaries in Place!
Isolation and unstructured time alone with students (coaches and music teachers high frequency)

Greater sexualization of society/greater access in media, movies, & music

Stress, depression, relationship/marital issues that lead to misplaced fantasies

Advanced methods of communication – text messaging and social networking websites remove age boundaries with students and adults

Being a victim of abuse

Predatory tendencies

Elements :
Students do not develop appropriate risk analysis capabilities until 20+ years of age. Students cannot be trusted to make adult-like decisions regarding relationships or their education. They must rely on adults to model and guide them in these areas. Students NEVER consent.

The Mind of a Student:
Students expect certain things from their
relationships with teachers. When a boundary breech or inappropriate relationship occurs students are left feeling confused, troubled, anxious and or fearful. The elements of victimization emerge leaving the student feeling a confusion, shame, anger, as their life is forever changed.

Student Expectations:
Educator immaturity

Inexperience in the teaching / adult role with children

Emotional distress and vulnerability, any age

Willful exploitation of trust, physicality, sexuality

Educator being a victim of sexual abuse

Experienced/trusted educator who uses reputation and position to exploit students
Educator Factors Leading to Boundary Breaches:
Progression of boundary breeches leading to Sexual Misconduct involve emotional and
Physical issues:

Sympathy  Caring  Rapport  Presumed

Brief hugs  Pats/strokes  Holding  Sexual touch

By nature, students trust educators.

Appropriate relationships are essential to be an effective educator.

Good boundaries are essential for respect and maintenance of appropriate relationships with students.

Demonstrate human essence, but in your quest to be empathetic and build relationships, be careful of information you share with students.

Think like an adult at all times and be wary of your how your behavior can be construed as well as personal information becoming public.

The Texas Education Agency opened 86 case during the 2007-08 school year. For the 2011-12 session, those numbers rose to 156 (TEA, 2012).

Texas leads the nation in cases of Educator Sexual Misconduct:

“…Somewhere in this country, twice a day, a teacher is sexually assaulting a student.”
-Terry Abbott, Former U.S. Department of Education Chief of Staff

Statistics on Educator Sexual Misconduct:

Educator Sexual Misconduct:
“…behavior by an educator that is directed at a student and intended to sexually arouse or titillate the educator or the child”
(U.S. Dept of Ed, 2004)

Boundaries make the difference!

No one has ever lost a job because he or she had good boundaries - maintain them!
Ethics covers a broad area of educator behavior, relationships, and actions:

“Educators must be draped in virtue”

Bithell SB (1991). Educator sexual abuse: A guide for prevention in the schools. Tudor House.

Henry LJ, Griffith KG, & Goulas FM (2005-2006). Perspectives on sexual misconduct by educators: A call to action and a mandate for reform and solutions. National Forum of Teacher
Education Journal Electronic 16(3E).

NASDTEC Educator Identification Clearinghouse (National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification): records on revocations, of professional certificates, etc.

Robert J. McLaughlin, PhD, CGP, LSOTP, Houston, Texas 77027

I have come to a frightening conclusion…

Quote by Dr. Haim Ginott
Showing inappropriate media to students

Verbal (use of sexual slang, etc.): more common in the classroom.

Physical contact of a sexual nature (pinching, fondling, touching breasts, intercourse): in secret at school, but more common outside of school.

Texting and use of social media to connect with students in an intimate manner.

Elements of Sexual Misconduct:

Preventing Sexual Misconduct

Among Educators

Staff members have a responsibility to handle and collect school/district funds in a responsible manner in accordance with district procedures!

Failure to do so can have professional and legal consequences!

Follow procedures and consult district policy when necessary!

Report discrepancies and suspicious activity!
Addional Resources
Texas Education Agency Resources
Exploring Some Common Ethical Issues
Obligation to Report
All staff members have an obligation legally and ethically if you suspect a child is being abused by anyone.

The window to report is 48 hours, but it should be reported as soon as possible!
Report Suspicions:
Campus Administration

SISD Police


Module 1.1 Boundaries

McCorkle Middle School

Module 1.2 Boundaries
Module 1.3 Boundaries
Discussion: Though the videos are satirical discuss the following in your group:
What were some key issues regarding boundaries that staff members experienced?

What breeches of general professionalism were noted?

Do you think that educators, who are well intended, can have an unintentional boundary breech that can cause their behavior and professionalism to fall into question?

Can you recall a situation... no matter how you tried to explain it, it just did not sound good?
Module 2.1 Social Media
Module 2.2 Social Media
Discussion: Pitfalls of Educator Social Media
What are some considerations for educators and social media?

Do you feel like you can ever separate professional and personal when it comes to social media?

Are you familiar with the district social media policy?
Module 3.1 Anger Management/Discipline
Module 3.2 Anger Management/Discipline
Module 3.3 Anger Management/Discipline
Discussion: Module 3: Anger Management/Discipline
What were some anger management issues experienced by the staff in the video?

Do you think staff members have an ethical obligation to address the issue of staff members using questionable discipline management practices? If so How?

Can you think of a time when you were a student in school and a teacher or school staff member used an inappropriate/questionable discipline management technique? How did it make you feel?

Do you agree that the use of sarcasm with students can be considered unethical? Why? Why not?
Module 4.1 Behavior Off Campus
Module 4.2 Behavior Off Campus
Module 4: Behavior Off Campus Discussion
Do you think educators should exercise an increased or decreased level of guardedness regarding off-campus behavior around students who may be the children of family, friends, or neighbors?

Have you ever had a situation regarding off-campus behavior that you wish you had handled differently?

Had the scenario regarding these teachers really happened, do you think the teacher who left the party (friend of the teacher whose sister asked for more beer) would have been professionally or legally off-the hook? Why? Why not?

Do you think you have an ethical obligation to report staff who may be violating the Educator Code of Ethics in regard to off-campus behavior?
Remember as educators we all have considerable
responsibilities regarding ethics and ethical behavior towards students, parents, community members, and each other.

In addition to boundaries and behavior, we also have an ethical responsibility to ensure equity in our classrooms and institutions.

Failing to abide by the Code of Ethics can susbstantially impact an educator's career, freedom, and reputation!
Public Trust
Consider how every time an educator is alleged to have committed sexual misconduct with a student, the cumulative effect that it has on our organization. Such situations serve to cast a pall over educational institutions and serve to erode the overall public trust of educators.
Training consists of 4 Modules:

Module 1 Boundaries

Module 2 Social Media

Module 3 Anger Management/Discipline

Module 4 Behavior Off-Campus
Full transcript