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 Texas handgun license stores a handgun or other firearm in a locked vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area provided by the District, provided the handgun or other firearm 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 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.
If an employee wishes to use a social network site or similar media for personal purposes, the employee shall be responsible for the content on the employee's page, including web links. The employee shall also be responsible for maintaining privacy settings appropriate to the content.
An employee who uses electronic media for personal purposes shall observe the following:
The employee shall not set up or update the employee's personal social network page(s) using the District's computers, network, or equipment.
An employee shall not post, share, update, like, or comment in any social network site during working hours, but is permitted to do so during his or her lunch period.
The employee shall not use the campus or District logo or other copyrighted material of the District without the express, written consent of the District.
An employee shall not share or post, in any format, information, videos, or pictures obtained while on duty or on District business unless the employee first obtains written approval from the employee's immediate supervisor.
Subject to the exception in item 7 below, an employee shall not share or post, in any format, information concerning any District-related issues, including any employment-related or student-related matters.
The employee continues to be subject to applicable state and federal laws, local policies, administrative regulations, and the Texas Educator's Code of Ethics, even when communicating regarding personal and private matters, regardless of whether the employee is using private or public equipment, on or off District grounds. These restrictions include, but are not limited to, the following:
Confidentiality of student records. [See policy FL]
Confidentiality of health or personnel information concerning colleagues, unless disclosure serves a lawful, professional purpose or is required by law. [See policy DH]
Confidentiality of District records. [See policy GBA]
Copyright law. [See policy CY]
Prohibition against harming others by knowingly making false statements about a colleague or the school system. [See policy DH]
A District employee may use electronic media to share or post information, video, or pictures for instructional purposes, to further an educational interest, to coordinate co-curricular or extracurricular activities, or as approved by campus administration, if such information, video, or pictures do not cause a substantial disruption of school activities.
In the event of a lockdown, only authorized District employees shall share or post information, video, or pictures in District- designated formats.
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.
The following shall apply to the use of cellular phones in school buildings:
A teacher may use a cellular phone for business calls, including parent contacts, only during planning periods and other off-duty times during the instructional day.
A teacher, a paraprofessional, or an auxiliary employee shall not use a cellular phone for personal calls during working hours, but is permitted to do so during his or her lunch period.
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 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 controlled substance.
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 controlled substance or drug authorized by a licensed physician prescribed for the employee's personal use; or
- Possesses a controlled 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:
- Referral to drug and alcohol counseling or rehabilitation programs;
- Referral to employee assistance programs;
- Termination from employment with the District; and
- Referral to appropriate law enforcement officials for prosecution.
Employees shall receive a copy of this policy.
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 felony, any offense involving moral turpitude, and any of the other offenses as indicated below:
- Crimes involving school property or funds;
- Crimes involving attempt by fraudulent or unauthorized means to obtain or alter any certificate or permit that would entitle any person to hold or obtain a position as an educator;
- Crimes that occur wholly or in part on school property or at a school-sponsored activity; or
- Crimes involving moral turpitude, which include:
- Dishonesty; fraud; deceit; theft; misrepresentation;
- Deliberate violence;
- Base, vile, or depraved acts that are intended to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of the actor;
- Felony possession or conspiracy to possess, or any misdemeanor or felony transfer, sale, distribution, or conspiracy to transfer, sell, or distribute any controlled substance defined in Chapter 481 of the Health and Safety Code;
- Felony driving while intoxicated (DWI); or
- Acts constituting abuse or neglect under the Texas Family Code.
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.