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  • Section G: Personnel


A. General Conduct

The School Board believes that promoting ethical and responsible behavior is an essential part of the RSU 21 educational mission.  The Board recognizes that ethics, constructive attitudes, responsible behavior, and “character” are important if a student is to leave school as a “responsible and involved citizen,” as described in the Guiding Principles of the Maine Learning Results.                                                                       

It is the Board’s intent that RSU 21 will provide a safe, nurturing, and positive school environment designed to encourage each student to acquire the necessary skills and perspectives needed for a meaningful life and career.  All schools will strive to encourage students to form desirable habits that are necessary for them to become responsible, informed citizens.  

In order to create and maintain a school climate in which ethical and responsible behavior can flourish, the Board believes that all employees and volunteers of the District must act with due recognition that they are role models and must strive to model and reinforce attitudes and practices that will help our students develop into thoughtful, responsible and civic-minded adults.  These core values include the following:   

  • Respect - demonstrating a genuine respect for others and the opinions of others

  • Accountability - accepting responsibility for one's actions

  • Cooperation - working well with others as part of a team

  • Integrity - acting honestly in all dealings with others

  • Empathy - seeking to understand or feel what another person is experiencing 

  • Courage - acting with conviction in the face of personal or ethical challenges 

Because the District's mission is undermined when school staff lose sight of these values, employees and volunteers are expected to conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner with these values in mind.  They should strive to maintain high standards of integrity and the use of good judgment in their dealings with students, with colleagues, and with members of the school community.  Employees and volunteers are also expected to observe the letter and spirit of all school policies and procedures as well as all applicable state and federal laws and regulations.  

B. Conduct with Students

The Board expects all staff members, including teachers, coaches, counselors, administrators and others, to maintain the highest professional, moral and ethical standards in their conduct with students.  For the purposes of this policy, staff members also include school volunteers.

The intent of this policy is to ensure that the interactions and relationships between staff members and students are based upon mutual respect and trust; that staff members understand the importance of maintaining appropriate professional boundaries between adults and students in an educational setting; and that staff members conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the educational mission of the schools. 

It is understood that staff members and their children may interact with and have friendships with the families of students outside of school.  This policy is not intended to prohibit such interactions and friendships, provided that professional boundaries are maintained at all times and that parents/guardians have knowledge of the interactions between a staff member and their child(ren).

  1. Prohibited Conduct

Examples of unacceptable conduct by staff members that are expressly prohibited include but are not limited to the following:

  • Any type of sexual or inappropriate physical contact with students, or any other conduct that might be considered harassment under the Board’s policy on Harassment and Sexual Harassment of Students.

  • Singling out a particular student or students for personal attention and friendship beyond the normal teacher-student relationship.

  • For non-guidance/counseling staff, encouraging students to confide their personal or family problems and/or relationships. [If a student engages  in such discussions, staff members are expected to be supportive but to refer the student to appropriate RSU 21 identified guidance/counseling staff for assistance and/or as applicable to follow mandated reporting requirements - Policy JBL

  • Sexual banter, allusions, jokes or innuendos with students. 

  • Asking a student to keep a secret. 

  • Disclosing personal, sexual, family, employment concerns, or other private matters to one or more students.

  • Addressing students with terms of endearment, pet names or otherwise in an overly familiar manner.

  • Permitting students to address you by your first name, nickname or otherwise in an overly familiar manner.

  • “Friending” students, “following” students or engaging in any other interactions on social networking sites or through any digital applications (outside of any school-approved activity, or in the case of friendships between families, with the parent/guardian’s knowledge). 

  • Communicating with students on non-school matters via computer, text messages, phone calls, letters, notes or any other means.

  • Communicating with a single student via personally owned devices. [Use group messages to students with parent consent for these types of communication.]

Before engaging in the following activities, staff members are expected to review the activity with their building principal or supervisor, as appropriate:

  • Being alone with individual students out of public view.

  • Driving students home or to other locations.

  • Inviting or allowing students to visit the staff member’s home (unless a minor student’s parent approves of the activity, such as when a student babysits or performs chores for a staff member).

  • Visiting a student at home or in another location, unless on official school business known to the parent;

  • Exchanging personal gifts (beyond the customary student-teacher gifts).

  • Socializing or spending time with students (including but not limited to activities such as going out for meals or movies, shopping, traveling, and recreational activities) outside of school-sponsored events or organized community activities.

  • Taking photographs and/or videos of students for personal purposes or any purpose other than capturing images of a school event for school publication purposes.

Staff members are expected to be sensitive to the appearance of impropriety in their conduct with students.  Staff members are encouraged to discuss issues with their building administrator or supervisor whenever they are unsure whether particular conduct may constitute a violation of this policy.

  1. Reporting Violations

Students and/or their parents/guardians are strongly encouraged to notify the Superintendent or building administrator if they believe a teacher or other staff member may be engaging in conduct that violates this policy.

Staff members are required to promptly notify the Superintendent or building administrator if they become aware of conduct by a staff member that may constitute a violation of this policy.

  1. Disciplinary Action and Referrals to Outside Agencies

Staff violations of this policy shall result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.  Violations involving sexual or other abuse will also result in referral to the Department of Health and Human Services, the District Attorney and/or law enforcement.  In addition, the Department of Education will be notified if a credential holder is disciplined, suspended or terminated for violations that endanger the health, safety or welfare of a student, or if a credential holder leaves their employment for any reason prior to the conclusion of an investigation of such a violation.

Dissemination of Policy

This policy shall be disseminated to staff and volunteers by means determined by the Superintendent.  This policy shall also be included in student handbooks.

Cross Reference:

ACAA - Harassment and Sexual Harassment of Students

GCSA - Employee Use of School-Issued Computers, Devices and the Internet

AD - Educational Philosophy / Mission 

ADA - School District Goals and Objectives 

ADF - Commitment to Learning Results

AC - Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action 

JLF - Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect

Statutory Reference:  20-A M.R.S. § 13025
22 M.R.S. § 4011-A
Revised: 12/6/2021

  • Section G