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Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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Policy 5253 - MAINTAINING PROFESSIONAL STAFF/STUDENT BOUNDARIES

The purpose of this policy is to provide all staff, students, volunteers and community members with information about their role in protecting children from inappropriate conduct by adults.  This policy applies to all district staff and volunteers.  For the purpose of this policy and its procedure, the terms “district staff”, “staff member(s)”, and “staff” also include volunteers.

General Standards
The Board expects all staff members to maintain the highest professional, moral and ethical standards in their interaction with students. Staff members are required to maintain an educational environment conducive to learning, by consistently maintaining professional boundaries.

Professional staff/student boundaries are consistent with the legal and ethical duty of care that district employees have for students.

The interactions and relationships between staff members and students should be based upon mutual respect and trust, an understanding of the appropriate boundaries between adults and students inside and outside of the educational setting, and consistent with the educational mission of the district.

Staff members will not intrude on a student’s physical and emotional boundaries unless the intrusion is necessary to serve a demonstrated educational purpose. An educational purpose is one that relates to the staff member’s duties in the district. Additionally, staff members are expected to be aware of the appearance of impropriety in their own conduct and the conduct of other staff when interacting with students. Staff members will notify and discuss issues with their building administrator or supervisor whenever they suspect or question whether their own or another staff member’s conduct is inappropriate or constitutes a violation of this policy.  Whenever possible this conversation should happen prior to engaging in an activity that might be considered to have educational purpose.

The Board recognizes that staff may have familial and pre-existing social relationships with parents or guardians and students.  Staff members should use appropriate professional judgment when they have such a relationship to students to avoid violating this policy and procedure, the appearance of impropriety, and the appearance of favoritism.  Staff members shall pro-actively discuss these circumstances with their building administrator or supervisor.

Use of Technology
The Board supports the use of technology to communicate for educational purposes. However, staff are prohibited from inappropriately communicating with students online or from engaging in any conduct on social networking web sites that violates the law, district policies or procedures, or other generally recognized professional standards. Staff whose conduct violates this policy may face discipline and/or termination, consistent with the district’s policies and procedures, acceptable use agreement and collective bargaining agreements, as applicable.

The superintendent or designee will develop staff protocols for reporting and investigating allegations and develop procedures and training to accompany this policy.

Cross References:
Sexual Harassment of Students Prohibited - Policy 3205
Prohibition of Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying - Policy 3207
Nondiscrimination - Policy 3210

Legal References:
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Chapter 9A.44, RCW - Sex Offenses
Chapter 9A.88, RCW - Indecent exposure--Prostitution
Crimes against children - RCW 28A.400.320
Crimes against children - Mandatory termination of certificated employees Appeal Recovery of salary or compensation by district - 28A.405.470
Termination of certificated employee based on guilty plea or conviction of certain felonies Notice to superintendent of public instruction - Record of notices - 28A.405.475
Revocation or suspension of certificate or permit to teach Criminal basis Complaints Investigation – Process - 28A.410.090 
Violation or noncompliance Investigatory powers of superintendent of public instruction Requirements for investigation of alleged sexual misconduct towards a child Court orders Contempt Written findings required - 28A.410.095
Revocation of authority to teach Hearings - 28A.410.100
Professional Certification Acts of Unprofessional Conduct - Chapter 181-87 WAC
Sexual Misconduct, Verbal and Physical Abuse - Mandatory Disclosure Prohibited Agreements - Chapter181-88 WAC
Chapter 28A.641, RCW - Sexual Equality
Chapter 28A.642, RCW – Discrimination Prohibition
Chapter 49.60, RCW – Washington State Law Against Discrimination

Management Resources:
October 2015 - Policy & Legal News

Highline School District 401
Adopted by the Board: 8.13
Revised by the Board: 01.16
Classification: Priority