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ETHICS IN EDUCATION

McKay Scholarship Program

Berean Christian School requires a Level 2 criminal history report received for any employee (obtained through the VECHS program).  Any employee convicted of an offense listed in Section 1012.315, Florida Statutes is disqualified from employment. The school also continues to screen employees for the offenses listed in Section 435.04, Florida Statutes (Education Certification/Discipline against Educator Licenses).  BCS also requires volunteers who supervise students to complete a Level 2 criminal history screening.

The administration of The Berean Christian School conducts an employment history check before employing instructional personnel and school administrators in any position that requires direct contact with students. This is completed by contacting the individual’s previous employer and documenting the findings.  If unable to contact a previous employer, the administrator will document this information. All findings are documented in writing and maintained in the individual employee’s file.   The administration of Berean Christian School screens new instructional personnel and school administrators using a level 2 background check and the FDOE screening process. 

As of 2020, Berean Christian School has also implemented the following requirements regarding owners/operators:  Section 1002.421(p)., Florida Statutes, requires private schools that intend to participate in state scholarship programs must have each owner/chief administrator, operator, officer, and board member reported to the Division of Corporations (www.sunbiz.org) undergo a level 2 background screening regardless of direct contact with scholarship students.  The fingerprints must be submitted electronically through the school’s Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) for a level 2 background check.

Standards of Ethical Conduct

Berean Christian School – West Palm Beach, Florida

(Adapted from the Code of Ethics of the Education Profession in Florida and Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida)

  1. Our school values the worth and dignity of every person, the pursuit of truth, devotion to excellence, acquisition of knowledge, and the nurture of democratic citizenship. Essential to the achievement of these standards are the freedom to learn and to teach and the guarantee of equal opportunity for all. 
  2. Our primary concern is the student and the development of the student's potential. Employees will therefore strive for professional growth and will seek to exercise the best professional judgment and integrity. 
  3. Concern for the student requires that our instructional personnel: 
    1. Shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning and/or to the student's mental and/or physical health and/or safety.
    2. Shall not unreasonably restrain a student from independent action in pursuit of learning.
    3. Shall not unreasonably deny a student access to diverse points of view. 
    4. Shall not intentionally suppress or distort subject matter relevant to a student's academic program. 
    5. Shall not intentionally expose a student to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement.
    6. Shall not intentionally violate or deny a student's legal rights. 
    7. Shall not harass or discriminate against any student on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, marital status, handicapping condition, sexual orientation, or social and family background and shall make reasonable effort to assure that each student is protected from harassment or discrimination. 
    8. Shall not exploit a relationship with a student for personal gain or advantage.
    9. Shall keep in confidence personally identifiable information obtained in the course of professional service, unless disclosure serves professional purposes or is required by law. 
  4. Aware of the importance of maintaining the respect and confidence of colleagues, of students, of parents, and of the community, employees of our school must display the highest degree of ethical conduct. This commitment requires that our employees:
    1. Shall maintain honesty in all professional dealings.
    2. Shall not on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, marital status, handicapping condition if otherwise qualified, or social and family background deny to a colleague professional benefits or advantages or participation in any professional organization. 
    3. Shall not interfere with a colleague's exercise of political or civil rights and responsibilities. d. Shall not engage in harassment or discriminatory conduct which unreasonably interferes with an individual's performance of professional or work responsibilities or with the orderly processes of education or which creates a hostile, intimidating, abusive, offensive, or oppressive environment; and, further, shall make reasonable effort to assure that each individual is protected from such harassment or discrimination.
    4. Shall not make malicious or intentionally false statements about a colleague. 

Training Requirement 
All instructional personnel and administrators are required as a condition of employment to complete training on these standards of ethical conduct.

Reporting Misconduct by Instructional Personnel and Administrators 
All employees and administrators have an obligation to report misconduct by instructional personnel and school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student. Examples of misconduct include obscene language, drug and alcohol use, disparaging comments, prejudice or bigotry, sexual innuendo, cheating or testing violations, physical aggression, and accepting or offering favors. Reports of misconduct of employees should be made to the Headmaster of Berean Christian School. Reports of misconduct committed by administrators should be made to the School Superintendent of Grace Fellowship. Legally sufficient allegations of misconduct by Florida certified educators will be reported to the Office of Professional Practices Services. Policies and procedures for reporting misconduct by instructional personnel or school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student are posted in school’s 200 building mailroom, 301 teacher work room and in the cafeteria, and on our website at www.bereanchristianschool.org.   

Reporting Child Abuse, Abandonment or Neglect 
All employees and agents have an affirmative duty to report all actual or suspected cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect. Call 1-800-96-ABUSE or report online at: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/report/

Signs of Physical Abuse: The child may have unexplained bruises, welts, cuts, or other injuries; broken bones; or 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, or 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, or 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, or run away from home. 

Signs of Neglect: The child may have unattended medical needs, little or no supervision at home, poor hygiene, or appear underweight. A child experiencing neglect may be frequently tired or hungry, steal food, or appear overly needy for adult attention.

Patterns of Abuse: 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. 

Liability Protections
Any person, official, or institution participating in good faith in any act authorized or required by law, or reporting in good faith any instance of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect to the department or any law enforcement agency, shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability which might otherwise result by reason of such action. (F.S. 39.203) 

An employer who discloses information about a former or current employee to a prospective employer of the former or current employee upon request of the prospective employer or of the former or current employee is immune from civil liability for such disclosure or its consequences unless it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that the information disclosed by the former or current employer was knowingly false or violated any civil right of the former or current employee protected under F.S. Chapter 760. (F.S. 768.095) 

Updated: April 22, 2020