Employee/Student Interaction Policy
Mid-Peninsula High School encourages close relationships between students and school employees. At the same time, it is important that each employee’s conduct is at all times professional. Employees must maintain appropriate boundaries between themselves and students to ensure that they avoid even the perception of inappropriate conduct. Some activities may seem innocent from an employee’s perspective, but can be perceived as flirtation or sexual insinuation from the perspective of a student or parent. The objective of this policy is not to restrain positive relationships between employees and students, but to prevent relationships that could lead to, or may be perceived as, sexual misconduct. Employees must ensure that they do not cross the boundaries of a professional educational relationship.
Below is a list of examples of conduct that may involve inappropriate crossing of the boundaries of the professional relationship:
Giving gifts to an individual student that are of an intimate nature
- Unnecessary physical contact with a student in either a public or private situation
- Intentionally being alone with a student on campus or away from the School without supervisor awareness
- Making or participating in sexually inappropriate comments
- Sexual jokes, stories, or comments with sexual innuendo
- Seeking emotional involvement with a student for an employee’s benefit
- Discussing an employee’s own overly personal or intimate issues with a student
- Becoming involved with a student so that a reasonable person may suspect inappropriate behavior
- Inappropriate use of social media with or about students
- Excessive attention toward a particular student
- Sending emails, text messages, or letters to students of a personal nature if the content is not about school activities
- Failing to keep parents and supervisors informed when a significant issue develops about a student.
Duty to Report
If an employee finds him or herself in a difficult situation related to boundaries, the employee should ask for advice from an administrator. When any employee suspects another employee of crossing appropriate boundaries with a student, the employee must report the matter to the Head of School. In some circumstances such as suspected child abuse or neglect, employees will also have the duty to report such conduct in accordance with the mandated reporter requirements.
Social Media Contacts With Students/Families
Employees should not initiate or accept social media "friend" or “follower” requests (or otherwise establish an on-line relationship with them) on their personal social media accounts from current students (of any age) or former students under the age of 18. Employees should use professional discretion when "friending" or “following” alumni 18 years of age and older. When doing so, employees should recognize that many former students have online connections with current students (including younger siblings and underclassmen friends), and that information shared between recent alumni is likely to be seen by current students as well.
For communications with students or other members of the school community, employees may only use technology resources provided by Mid-Peninsula High School. Use of personal email or text for communicating with students or their parents is not acceptable without authorization from an administrator. If specific needs cannot be met by the school-provided services, and an employee wishes to use another social networking site for school communications, the Head of School may approve the use of outside services. Employees who wish to use social media sites, such as Facebook or Twitter, for communications with students and parents may, with the permission of the Head of School, create an "official" page for professional purposes. School administrators and parents must have full access to these accounts, and privacy settings should be restricted so student information is protected.