DH(LEGAL) - EMPLOYEE STANDARDS OF CONDUCT
Educators shall comply with standard practices and ethical conduct toward students, professional colleagues, school officials, parents, and members of the community and shall safeguard academic freedom.
The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) shall provide for the adoption, amendment, and enforcement of an educator's code of ethics [see DH(EXHIBIT)]. SBEC is solely responsible for enforcing the ethics code for purposes related to certification disciplinary proceedings.
Education Code 21.041(b)(8); 19 TAC 247.1(b), (c)
All district employees are "public servants" and therefore subject to Title VIII of the Penal Code, regarding offenses against public administration, including restrictions on the acceptance of illegal gifts, honoraria and expenses, and abuse of office. Penal Code 1.07(a)(41), Title VIII [See DBD and BBFA]
Electronic Communication Policy
"Electronic communication" means any communication facilitated by the use of any electronic device, including a telephone, cellular telephone, computer, computer network, personal data assistant, or pager. The term includes emails, text messages, instant messages, and any communications made through a website, including a social media website or a social networking website.
A school district shall adopt a written policy concerning electronic communications between a school employee and a student enrolled in the district.
The policy adopted under this section must:
- Include provisions designed to prevent improper electronic communications between a school employee and a student;
- Allow a school employee to elect to not disclose to students the employee's personal telephone number or email address; and
- Include provisions instructing a school employee about the proper method for notifying appropriate local administrators about an incident in which a student engages in improper communications with the school employee.
Education Code 38.027
Public Information on Private Device
A current or former board member or employee of a district who maintains public information on a privately owned device shall:
- Forward or transfer the public information to the district or a district server to be preserved as provided by Government Code 552.004(a); or
- Preserve the public information in its original form in a backup or archive and on the privately owned device for the time described under 552.004(a).
Gov't Code 552.004(b) [See GB]
Loss of Retirement Annuity for Conviction of Certain Felonies
A person is not eligible to receive a service retirement annuity from the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) if the person is convicted of a qualifying felony and the victim is a student.
"Qualifying felony" means an offense that is punishable as a felony under the following sections of the Penal Code:
- Section 21.02 (continuous sexual abuse of young child or children);
- Section 21.12 (improper relationship between educator and student); or
- Section 22.011 (sexual assault) or Section 22.021 (aggravated sexual assault).
The term includes any federal offense that contains elements that are substantially similar to the elements of a felony offense described above.
Not later than the 30th day after the date of a person's conviction for a qualifying felony, the school at which the person was employed shall provide written notice of the conviction to TRS. The notice must comply with rules adopted by TRS.
Gov't Code 824.009
Transportation or Storage of Firearm in School Parking Area
A district may not prohibit a school employee who holds a license to carry a handgun under Government Code, Chapter 411, Subchapter H, from transporting or storing a handgun or other firearm or ammunition in a locked, privately owned or leased motor vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area provided by the district and may not regulate the manner in which the handgun, firearm, or ammunition is stored in the vehicle, provided that the handgun, firearm, or ammunition is not in plain view.
This does not authorize a person to possess, transport, or store a handgun, a firearm, or ammunition in violation of Education Code 37.125 or Penal Code 46.03 or 46.035, or other law. [See GKA]
Education Code 37.0815
Tobacco and E‑Cigarettes
A board shall prohibit smoking or using e-cigarettes or tobacco products at a school-related or school-sanctioned activity on or off school property.
A board shall ensure that district personnel enforce the policies on school property.
Education Code 38.006(b) [See also FNCD and GKA]
Drug and Alcohol Abuse Program
A board shall prohibit the use of alcoholic beverages at school-related or school-sanctioned activities on or off school property. Education Code 38.007(a)
Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act
A district that receives a direct federal grant must agree to provide a drug-free workplace by:
- Publishing a statement notifying employees that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited in the district's workplace and specifying the actions that will be taken against employees for violations of the prohibition;
- Establishing a drug-free awareness program to inform employees about:
- The dangers of drug abuse in the workplace;
- The district's policy of maintaining a drug-free workplace;
- Available drug counseling, rehabilitation, and employee assistance programs; and
- The penalties that may be imposed on employees for drug abuse violations;
- Making it a requirement that each employee to be engaged in the performance of the grant be given a copy of the required statement;
- Notifying the employee in the required statement that as a condition of employment in the grant the employee will:
- Abide by the terms of the statement; and
- Notify the district of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace no later than 5 days after the conviction;
- Notifying the granting agency within 10 days after receiving notice from an employee or otherwise receiving actual notice of a conviction;
- Imposing a sanction on, or requiring the satisfactory participation in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program by, any employee who is convicted, as required by 41 U.S.C. section 8104; and
- Making a good faith effort to continue to maintain a drug-free workplace through implementation of the above requirements.
41 U.S.C. 8103(a)(1)
Except as provided at Education Code 38.011(b), a district employee may not:
- Knowingly sell, market, or distribute a dietary supplement that contains performance-enhancing compounds to a primary or secondary education student with whom the employee has contact as part of the employee's duties; or
- Knowingly endorse or suggest the ingestion, intranasal application, or inhalation of a dietary supplement that contains performance-enhancing compounds by a primary or secondary student with whom the employee has contact as part of the employee's duties.
An employee who violates items 1 or 2, above, commits a Class C misdemeanor offense.
Education Code 38.011
A district may not enact, adopt, or enforce a rule, ordinance, order, resolution, or other regulation that prohibits the possession of low-THC cannabis, as authorized by Health and Safety Code Chapter 487. Health and Safety Code 487.201