Code of Ethics & Principles of Professional Conduct for Unicorn Village Academy Educators and Staff Members
(1) UVA educators shall be guided by the following ethical principles:
(a) The educator 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.
(b) The educator’s primary professional concern will always be for the student and for the development of the student’s potential. The educator will therefore strive for professional growth and will seek to exercise the best professional judgment and integrity.
(c) Aware of the importance of maintaining the respect and confidence of one’s colleagues, of students, of parents, and of other members of the community, the educator strives to achieve and sustain the highest degree of ethical conduct.
(2) UVA educators shall comply with the following disciplinary principles. Violation of any of these principles shall subject the individual to revocation or suspension of the individual educator’s certificate, or the other penalties as provided by law.
(a) Obligation to the student requires that the individual:
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 view4. 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.
10. Shall report 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.
(b) Obligation to the public requires that the individual:
1. Shall take reasonable precautions to distinguish between personal views and those of any educational institution or organization with which the individual is affiliated.
2. Shall not intentionally distort or misrepresent facts concerning an educational matter in direct or indirect public expression.
3. Shall not use institutional privileges for personal gain or advantage.
4. Shall accept no gratuity, gift, or favor that might influence professional judgment.
5. Shall offer no gratuity, gift, or favor to obtain special advantages.
(c) Obligation to the profession of education requires that the individual:
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, disability 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.
4. 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.
5. Shall not make malicious or intentionally false statements about a colleague.
6. Shall not use coercive means or promise special treatment to influence professional judgments of colleagues.
7. Shall not misrepresent one’s own professional qualifications.
8. Shall not submit fraudulent information on any document in connection with professional activities.
9. Shall not make any fraudulent statement or fail to disclose a material fact in one’s own or another’s application for a professional position.
10. Shall not withhold information regarding a position from an applicant or misrepresent an assignment or conditions of employment.
11. Shall provide upon the request of the certificated individual a written statement of specific reason for recommendations that lead to the denial of increments, significant changes in employment, or termination of employment.
12. Shall not assist entry into or continuance in the profession of any person known to be unqualified in accordance with these Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida and other applicable Florida Statutes and State Board of Education Rules.
13. Shall self-report within forty-eight (48) hours 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 head of school, Evelyn Falconer. Reports of misconduct committed by administrators should be made to Lori Cabrera, Chairman of the Board, Unicorn Village Academy.
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 the Employee Handbook and on the bulletin board in the staff break room.
14. Shall be protected from Liability. 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)
15. Shall be required to complete training during orientation prior to the school year, as a condition of employment, on these standards of ethical conduct.