DH(LOCAL) - EMPLOYEE STANDARDS OF CONDUCT
Each District employee shall perform his or her duties in accordance with state and federal law, District policy, and ethical standards. The District holds all employees accountable to the Educators' Code of Ethics. [See DH(EXHIBIT)]
Each District employee shall recognize and respect the rights of students, parents, other employees, and members of the community and shall work cooperatively with others to serve the best interests of the District.
An employee wishing to express concern, complaints, or criticism shall do so through appropriate channels. [See DGBA]
Violations of Standards of Conduct
Each employee shall comply with the standards of conduct set out in this policy and with any other policies, regulations, and guidelines that impose duties, requirements, or standards attendant to his or her status as a District employee. Violation of any policies, regulations, or guidelines, including intentionally making a false claim, offering a false statement, or refusing to cooperate with a District investigation, may result in disciplinary action, including termination of employment. [See DCD and DF series]
The District prohibits the use, possession, or display of any firearm, location-restricted knife, club, or prohibited weapon, as defined at FNCG, on District property at all times.
No violation of this policy occurs when:
- A District employee who holds a valid Texas License to Carry a Handgun stores a handgun in a locked, privately owned vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area provided by the District, provided the handgun and any ammunition is not in plain view; or
- The use, possession, or display of an otherwise prohibited weapon takes place as part of a District-approved activity supervised by proper authorities. [See FOD]
Use with Students
A certified employee, licensed employee, or any other employee designated in writing by the Superintendent or a campus principal may use electronic communication, as this term is defined by law, with currently enrolled students only about matters within the scope of the employee's professional responsibilities.
Unless an exception has been made in accordance with the employee handbook or other administrative regulations, an employee shall not use a personal electronic communication platform, application, or account, including social media, to communicate with currently enrolled students.
Unless authorized above, all other employees are prohibited from using electronic communication directly with students who are currently enrolled in the District. The employee handbook or other administrative regulations shall further detail:
- Exceptions for family and social relationships;
- The circumstances under which an employee may use text messaging to communicate with individual students or student groups;
- Hours of the day during which electronic communication is discouraged or prohibited; and
- Other matters deemed appropriate by the Superintendent or designee.
In accordance with ethical standards applicable to all District employees [see DH(EXHIBIT)], an employee shall be prohibited from using electronic communications in a manner that constitutes prohibited harassment or abuse of a District student; adversely affects the student's learning, mental health, or safety; includes threats of violence against the student; reveals confidential information about the student; or constitutes an inappropriate communication with a student, as described in the Educators' Code of Ethics.
An employee shall have no expectation of privacy in electronic communications with students. Each employee shall comply with the District's requirements for records retention and destruction to the extent those requirements apply to electronic communication. [See CPC]
All employees shall be held to the same professional standards in their public use of electronic communication as for any other public conduct. If an employee's use of electronic communication violates state or federal law or District policy, or interferes with the employee's ability to effectively perform his or her job duties, the employee is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Reporting Improper Communication
In accordance with administrative regulations, an employee shall notify his or her supervisor when a student engages in improper electronic communication with the employee.
Disclosing Personal Information
An employee shall not be required to disclose his or her personal email address or personal phone number to a student.
Each employee shall adhere to District safety rules and regulations and shall report unsafe conditions or practices to the appropriate supervisor.
Harassment or Abuse
An employee shall not engage in prohibited harassment, including sexual harassment, of:
- Other employees. [See DIA]
- Students. [See FFH; see FFG regarding child abuse and neglect.]
While acting in the course of employment, an employee shall not engage in prohibited harassment, including sexual harassment, of other persons, including Board members, vendors, contractors, volunteers, or parents.
An employee shall report child abuse or neglect as required by law. [See FFG]
Relationships with Students
An employee shall not form romantic or other inappropriate social relationships with students. Any sexual relationship between a student and a District employee is always prohibited, even if consensual. [See FFH]
As required by law, the District shall notify the parent of a student with whom an educator is alleged to have engaged in certain misconduct. [See FFF]
Tobacco and E‑Cigarettes
An employee shall not smoke or use tobacco products or e‑cigarettes on District property, in District vehicles, or at school-related activities. [See also GKA]
Alcohol and Drugs / Notice of Drug-Free Workplace
As a condition of employment, an employee shall abide by the terms of the following drug-free workplace provisions. An employee shall notify the Superintendent in writing if the employee is convicted for a violation of a criminal drug statute occurring in the workplace in accordance with Arrests, Indictments, Convictions, and Other Adjudications, below.
An employee shall not manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess, use, or be under the influence of any of the following Prohibited Substances during working hours while on District property or at school-related activities during or outside of usual working hours:
- Any controlled substance or dangerous drug as defined by law, including but not limited to marijuana, any narcotic drug, hallucinogen, stimulant, depressant, amphetamine, or barbiturate.
- Alcohol or any alcoholic beverage.
- Any abusable glue, aerosol paint, or any other chemical substance for inhalation.
- Any other intoxicant or mood-changing, mind-altering, or behavior-altering drug.
An employee need not be legally intoxicated to be considered "under the influence" of a Prohibited Substance.
It is prohibited for an employee, while at work or conducting District business, to have the odor of an alcoholic beverage on their breath or their person from having previously consumed alcoholic beverages.
In determining whether reasonable suspicion exists to believe an employee is under the influence of a Prohibited Substance, the following factors are possible, but not exclusive, indicators to consider in conjunction with other relevant information, including the employee's explanation:
- Physical symptoms or manifestations of use of the Prohibited Substances, including, but not limited to, altered or slurred speech or repeated incoherent statements, dilated or constricted pupils, flushed skin, excessive sweating, reddened or glassy eyes, excessive drowsiness, or loss of consciousness without reasonable explanation.
- Unexplained, abrupt or radical changes in behavior, including, but not limited to, violent outbursts, hyperactivity, extreme suspiciousness, or frequent and/or extreme fluctuations of mood swings without reasonable explanation.
- Inability to walk steadily, or in a straight line, or perform normal manual functions without reasonable explanation.
- Unexplained, prolonged or frequent disappearances from the work area.
- Accidents or near-accidents on the job that appear related to unexplained sensory or motor skills malfunctions.
- Smell of alcoholic beverage on the employee when the employee is expected to be performing job duties.
- The direct observation of Prohibited Substances use by an employee while at work or on duty.
- A report of reasonable suspicion provided by a source believed to be reliable.
It shall not be considered a violation of this policy if the employee:
- Manufactures, possesses, or dispenses a substance listed above as part of the employee's job responsibilities;
- Uses or possesses a Prohibited Substance prescribed to the employee by a licensed physician in the manner prescribed by the physician; or
- Possesses a Prohibited Substance or drug that a licensed physician has prescribed for the employee's child or other individual for whom the employee is a legal guardian.
An employee who violates these drug-free workplace provisions shall be subject to disciplinary sanctions. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to:
- Nonrenewal of employment with the District;
- Suspension with or without pay; and/or
- Termination from employment with the District.
Employees shall receive a copy of this policy.
Misuse of Medication
An employee's misuse or abuse of authorized prescription or over-the-counter medications shall be considered a violation of this policy.
Misuse shall be defined as use in a manner not prescribed by a health-care professional, including using someone else's prescription or a personal prescription in a way not directed by a physician.
An employee shall not report for duty if impaired due to the use of prescribed or over the counter medication.
[For provisions on employee drug testing, see DHE(LOCAL).]
Arrests, Indictments, Convictions, and Other Adjudications
An employee shall notify his or her principal or immediate supervisor within three calendar days of any arrest, indictment, conviction, no contest or guilty plea, or other adjudication of the employee for:
- Any crime constituting a felony; or
- Any crime constituting a misdemeanor, excluding minor traffic offenses punishable by fine only.
Dress and Grooming
An employee's dress and grooming shall be clean, neat, in a manner appropriate for his or her assignment, and in accordance with any additional standards established by his or her supervisor and approved by the Superintendent.
District employees and contractors shall wear their District-issued identification badges in a clearly visible manner while at any District campus or facility. The badges must not be altered and must remain free of any item or material that covers any part of the front surface of the badge. Each District employee observing any person at a District campus or facility without a visible identification badge or visitor name badge shall inquire as to the person's reason for being at the location. A visitor without a visitor name badge shall be directed to the front office or front desk in order to obtain a visitor name badge. Any person who appears to present a security concern shall be reported immediately to law enforcement and District security.