Sonoma COE | BP 4119.24 Personnel
Maintaining Appropriate Adult-Student Interactions - SP/BP
The County Superintendent desires to provide a positive school environment that protects the safety and well-being of county office students. The County Superintendent expects all adults with whom students may interact at school or in school-related activities, including employees, independent contractors, and volunteers, to maintain the highest professional and ethical standards in their interactions with students both within and outside the educational setting. Such adults shall not engage in unlawful or inappropriate interactions with students and shall avoid boundary-blurring behaviors that undermine trust in the adult-student relationship and lead to the appearance of impropriety.
Employees are prohibited from entering into or attempting to form a romantic or sexual relationship with any student or engaging in sexual harassment of a student, including sexual advances, flirtations, requests for sexual favors, inappropriate comments about a student's body or appearance, or other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
(cf. 5145.7 - Sexual Harassment)
Adults shall not intrude on a student's physical or emotional boundaries unless necessary in an emergency or to serve a legitimate purpose related to instruction, counseling, student health, or student or staff safety.
Any employee who observes or has knowledge of another employee's violation of this policy shall report the information to the County Superintendent or designee or appropriate agency for investigation pursuant to the applicable complaint procedures. Other adults with knowledge of any violation of this policy are encouraged to report the violation to the County Superintendent or designee. The County Superintendent or designee shall protect anyone who reports a violation from retaliation. Immediate intervention shall be implemented when necessary to protect student safety or the integrity of the investigation.
(cf. 1312.1 - Complaints Concerning County office Employees)
(cf. 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures)
(cf. 5141.4 - Child Abuse Prevention and Reporting)
Employees who engage in any conduct in violation of this policy, including retaliation against a person who reports the violation or participates in the complaint process, shall be subject to discipline, up to and including dismissal. Any other adult who violates this policy may be barred from school grounds and activities in accordance with law. The County Superintendent or designee may also notify law enforcement as appropriate.
(cf. 4118 - Dismissal/Suspension/Disciplinary Action)
(cf. 4218 - Dismissal/Suspension/Disciplinary Action)
The county office's employee code of conduct addressing interactions with students shall be provided to parents/guardians at the beginning of each school year and shall be posted on school and/or county office web sites. (Education Code 44050)
(cf. 1113 - County office and School Web Sites)
(cf. 5145.6 - Parental Notifications)
Employees shall remain vigilant of their position of authority and not abuse it when relating with students. Examples of employee conduct that can undermine professional adult-student interactions or create the appearance of impropriety include, but are not limited to:
1. Initiating inappropriate physical contact
2. Being alone with a student outside of the view of others outside the employee's scope of professional practice.
3. Visiting a student's home or inviting a student to visit the employee's home without parent/guardian consent
4. Maintaining personal contact with a student that has no legitimate educational purpose, by phone, letter, electronic communications, or other means, without including the student's parent/guardian or the principal
When communicating electronically with students, employees shall use county office equipment or technological resources when available. Employees shall not communicate with students through any medium that is designed to eliminate records of the communications. The County Superintendent or designee may monitor employee usage of county office technology at any time without advance notice or consent.
(cf. 4040 - Employee Use of Technology)
5. Creating or participating in social networking sites for communication with students, other than those created by the county office, without the prior written approval of the principal or designee
6. Inviting or accepting requests from students, or former students who are minors, to connect on personal social networking sites (e.g., "friending" or "following" on social media), unless the site is dedicated to school business
7. Singling out a particular student for personal attention and friendship, including giving gifts and/or nicknames to individual students
8. Addressing a student in an overly familiar manner, such as by using a term of endearment
9. Socializing or spending time with students outside of school-sponsored events, except as participants in community activities
10. Sending or accompanying students on personal errands unrelated to any legitimate educational purpose
11. Transporting a student in a personal vehicle without prior authorization
12. Encouraging students to confide their personal or family problems and/or relationships
13. Disclosing personal, family, or other private matters to students or sharing personal secrets with students
44030.5 Employment status reports
44050 Employee code of conduct; employee interactions with students
44242.5 Reports and review of alleged misconduct
44940 Sex offenses and narcotic offenses; compulsory leave of absence
48980 Parental notifications
11164-11174.3 Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act
CODE OF REGULATIONS, TITLE 5
80303 Reports of change in employment status, alleged misconduct
80304 Notice of sexual misconduct
Superintendent Policy SONOMA COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION
approved: August 28, 2019 Santa Rosa, California