As part of San Domenico’s commitment to ensuring the safety and well being of our students, we require our employees to comply with the following policy on Employee-Student Relations. The School encourages parents or other members of the school community who have concerns about employee compliance with this policy or any other questions to contact the Head of School or the Chair of the Board of trustees.
The School encourages close, warm relationships between students and School faculty and staff. 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. 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 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 a personal or intimate nature;
- Engaging in unnecessary physical contact with a student in either a public or private situation. In applying this standard, the School will consider the age and developmental stage of the student, as well as the context. Examples of generally accepted physical personal contact in safe-touch areas (i.e., shoulder, upper back, arm) if the behavior is obviously appropriate, such as when giving a handshake, pat on the back, a high five or brief embrace for celebration or support. Touching would also be appropriate where necessary for the health or safety of a student or as part of an employee’s professional duties (e.g., health center employees). Even when touching is permissible under these standards, employees must ask permission before touching any student.
- Making, or participating in sexually inappropriate comments, sexually inappropriate comments;
- Engaging in preferential treatment or excessive personal attention toward a particular student including giving gifts to an individual student that are of a personal or intimate nature; seeking emotional involvement with a student for an employee’s benefit, or discussing the employee’s personal problems with a student or sharing intimate information about their lives with a student. Employees also should not ask students for such information unless it is part of their job responsibilities (e.g., school counselors).
- Becoming involved with a student so that a reasonable person may suspect inappropriate behavior;
- Inappropriate use of social media with or about students (See policy on Social Media Contacts with Students and Their Families) ;
- Using personal email or texting with students. Texting with students is permitted only for urgent communications, such as changes in schedules or locations for sports practices or for locating a student for health and safety purposes. When texting a student, employees should send group texts and include another employee on the texts or notify a supervisor about the texting;
- Sending communications to students of a personal nature if the content is not about school activities;
- Socializing or having other contact with a student or group of students off campus, outside of school-sponsored activities;
- Employees may host end-of-year or other class parties for students with permission of supervisors and parents or guardians;
- Employees may not tutor or coach students (outside their regular job duties) [unless they do so on campus and with the permission of the Head of School.]
- Intentionally being alone with a student outside of the school’s program expectations and/or outside of assigned responsibilities in a vehicle or a space that cannot be observed by others where other staff or supervisors do not know the interaction is occurring. If an employee must be alone with a student to perform their job duties, the employee should:
- Inform a supervisor that they will be or have been alone with a student;
- Meet in a public place or a place that is readily observable, if possible. If meeting in a classroom or office, have the blinds up or door open;
- Avoid physical contact of any sort with the student;
- Document in writing and submit to the Head of School or School Level Director any unusual incident, including but not limited to the disclosures by the student of abuse or maltreatment, behavior problems and how they are handled, injuries, or any interactions with the student that are significant or unusual.
- Failing to keep the appropriate administrator or School Counselor informed when a significant issue develops about a student.
- Swearing or using inappropriate language in the presence of students
- Commentary in a derogatory or discriminatory manner to a student; either about that student or another student
Duty to Report
San Domenico encourages parents, guardians and other members of the school community who have concerns about adults crossing appropriate boundaries with students to inform the Director, the Head of School or Chair of the Board of Trustees. The School will not retaliate against anyone who reports conduct that may violate this policy.