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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 includes volunteers.

General Standards

The La Center School District board of directors expects all staff members to maintain the highest professional, standards in their interaction with students. Staff members are required to maintain an atmosphere conducive to learning, through 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 in and outside of the educational setting, and consistency with the educational mission of the district.

District staff 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. 

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 a dual relationship to students to avoid violating this policy, the appearance of impropriety, and the appearance of favoritism.  Staff members shall proactively 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, district employees are prohibited from inappropriately communicating with students online or from engaging in any conduct on social networking websites 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, 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:       3205 –  Sexual Harassment of Students Prohibited

                                    3207 – Prohibition of Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying

                                    3210 – Nondiscrimination

Legal References:       Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

                                    Chapter 9A.44, RCW             Sex Offenses

                                    Chapter 9A.88, RCW             Indecent exposure – Prostitution

                                    RCW 28A.400.320                 Crimes against children – Mandatory termination of classified employees – Appeal- Recovery of salary or compensation by district

                                    RCW 28A.405.470                 Crimes against children – Mandatory termination of certificated employees – Appeal – Recovery of salary or compensation by district.

                                    RCW 28A.405.475                 Termination of certificated employee based on guilty plea or conviction of certain felonies – Notice to superintendent of public instruction – Record of notices.

                                    RCW 28A.410.090                 Revocation or suspension of certificate or permit to teach – Criminal basis – Complaints – Investigation – Process.

                                    RCW 28A.410.095                 Violation or noncompliance – Investigatory powers of superintenent of public instruction – Requirements for investigation of alleged sexual misconduct towards a child – Court orders – Contempt – Written findings required. 

                                    RCW 28A.410.100                 Revocation of authority to teach – Hearings.

                                    Chapter 28A.640, RCW         Sexual Equality

                                    Chapter 28A.642, RCW         Discrimination Prohibition

                                    Chapter 49.60, RCW              Washington State Law Against Discrimination

                                    Chapter 181-87 WAC             Professional Certification – Acts of Unprofessional Conduct

                                    Chapter 181-88 WAC             Sexual Misconduct, Verbal and Physical Abuse – Mandatory Disclosure – Prohibited Agreements


Management Resources:         2015 October Issue


La Center School District Adoption Date: August 24th, 2010; Revised July 25, 2017