Misconduct and Abuse

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Misconduct Reporting:

Florida Statutes And Rules

Florida Statutes s. 1006.061 states all employees and agents of the district school board, charter schools and private schools that accept scholarship students, have an obligation to report misconduct by an instructional personnel member or school administrator 

Florida Statutes s. 1012.33 outlines disciplinary procedures regarding district employment contracts with instructional personnel staff, supervisors and school principals 

Florida Statutes s. 1012.795 provides the Education Practices Commission the authority to issue disciplinary action against an individual’s Florida Educator certificate

Florida Statutes s. 1012.796 provides authority for the Department of Education to investigate and prosecute allegations of educator misconduct 

Florida Statute s. 1012.01 defines public school instructional personnel, administrative personnel, school volunteers, education support employees and managers

State Board of Education Rule 6B-1.001 defines the Code of Ethics of the Education Profession in Florida

State Board of Education Rule 6B-1.006 defines the Principals of Professional Conduct of the Education Profession in Florida

HOW TO REPORT MISCONDUCT

• Report allegations or suspicion of misconduct by an instructional personnel member to your school administrator (elizabethmahaney@gmail.com, (813) 240-3237) or district contact (Alicia.Saul@fldoe.org, 1(800) 447-1636, Fax 1(850) 245-0875)

• Report allegations or suspicion of misconduct by your school administrator to your district contact (Alicia.Saul@fldoe.org, 1(800)447-1636, Fax 1(850)245-0875)

• Document the activities or details of the event.

• Secure evidence (if applicable)

If someone tells you about misconduct, be a LEADER:

Listen
Evaluate
Act immediately
Document
Encourage
Report

WHO SHOULD REPORT MISCONDUCT?

All employees and agents of a district school board, charter school or private school have a duty to report misconduct. 

If you are aware of or observe misconduct

REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY!

WHO SHOULD YOU REPORT?

• Classroom teachers
• Paraprofessionals
• Substitute teachers
• Librarians, guidance counselors and social workers
• Career specialists and school psychologists
• Principals, Assistant Principals and Deans

“A teacher affects eternity…he can never tell where his influence stops.”

~Henry B. Adams

Failure to Report Misconduct

Possible penalties for instructional personnel or site administrators who fail to report misconduct may include:

• Written Reprimand
• Suspension with or without pay
• Termination of employment
• Discipline/Sanctions on an educator’s certificate

The following behavior may be indicative of misconduct that should be reported:

• being alone with a student in dark or closed room or secluded area
• behaving in an overly friendly or familiar way or failing to maintain an appropriate professional boundary with a student
• using forceful or unnecessary physical contact with a student
• administering discipline not compliant with district policy
• accepting or offering of gifts for return of a favor or privilege from students or colleagues
• badgering or habitually teasing a student
• mocking or belittling a student
• chronically embarrassing a student
• displaying prejudice or bigotry against a student
• suspicion of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
• failing to properly supervise students or to ensure student safety
• cheating, falsifying information or testing violations
• retaliating against a student or colleague for reporting misconduct
• bantering or engaging in colloquial or slang communications with a student
• directing or using profane, offensive, or explosive language in the presence of students
• making lewd or suggestive comments or overtures toward a student or colleague

Apply the litmus test

1. If you feel uncomfortable
2. If you question the person’s motives or actions
3. If you are unsure

        Protect the students and yourself and report.

Identifying and reporting Professional Misconduct

“By virtue of their leadership capacity, teachers are traditionally held to a high moral standard in a community”

Adams v. State of Florida Professional Practices Council,
406 So 2nd 1170 Fla. 1st DCA 1981

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: CONTACT:
Florida Department of Education
Office of Professional Practices Services
Turlington Building
325 West Gaines Street
(850)245-0438

www.myfloridateacher.com

CHIEF ADMINISTRATOR: Elizabeth Mahaney- elizabethmahaney@gmail.com

DISTRICT CONTACT: Alicia Saul- Alicia.Saul@fldoe.org

“Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.”

–Author Unknown

Florida Department of Education
Office of Professional Practices Services

Reporting Abuse:

Child Abuse

Look for the signs

Dial 1-800-96-ABUSE

Signs of Physical Abuse

The child may have unexplained:

– bruises, welts, cuts, or other injuries
– broken bones
– burns

A child experiencing physical abuse may:

– seem withdrawn or depressed
– seem afraid to go home or may run away
– shy away from physical contact
– be aggressive
– wear inappropriate clothing to hide injuries

Signs of Sexual Abuse

The child may have:

– torn, stained or bloody underwear
– trouble walking or sitting
– pain or itching in genital area
– a sexually transmitted disease

A child experiencing sexual abuse may:

– have unusual knowledge of sex or act seductively
– fear a particular person
– seem withdrawn or depressed
– gain or lose weight suddenly
– shy away from physical contact
– run away from home

Signs of Neglect

The child may have:

– unattended medical needs
– little or no supervision at home
– poor hygiene
– appear underweight

A child experiencing neglect may:

– be frequently tired or hungry
– steal food
– appear overly needy for adult attention

Look for the Patterns

Serious abuse usually involves a combination of factors. While a single sign may not be significant, a pattern of physical or behavioral signs is a serious indicator and should be reported. 

If a child tells YOU about abuse:

Be a good listener. Show that you understand and believe what the child tells you. Encourage, but don’t pressure him/her to talk. Ask open ended questions.

Be supportive. Tell the child he/she did the right thing by coming to you. Stress that he/she is not to blame. Let the child know that you want to help.

Don’t overreact. This can frighten the child or prevent him/her from telling you more. Do not talk negatively about the suspected abuser in front of the child. 

Document and report it. Document your conversation as soon as you can. If possible, write down the child’s exact words. 

Don’t delay. Never assume someone else will report the abuse. The sooner it’s reported, the sooner the child and their family can be helped. 

WHO MUST REPORT ABUSE?

Doctors
Nurses
Social Workers
Police Officers
Child Care Workers
Any Witnesses
Any/All School Personnel

Call or Report it online at:  http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/report/