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Modern Minds Learning
Ethics Conduct Policies and Reporting

Reporting of Ethical Misconduct is required by law and is our duty as professionals entrusted with the safety and welfare of students every day. Florida Statute section 39.203 and section 768.095 protect the person reporting ethical misconduct from reprisal by the individual reported or the employer if the report was made in good faith without malicious intent. Modern Minds Learning (MML) requires that every employee report any issue that could currently or potentially impact the health, safety, or welfare of its students and employees.

 

The process for reporting is as follows. Any incident that an employee believes is potentially harmful to a student or another employee should be immediately reported to the Head of School or his or her designee. Any employee who knowingly fails to report misconduct or abuse will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

 

Parents, students, and employees should regularly visit the public registry to review it for individuals who may have prior criminal records and sex offenses. Information concerning registered sex offenders and predators in Florida may be obtained by visiting http://www.fdle.state.fl.us, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Sexual Offenders database. Information may also be obtained by contacting the FDLE’s toll-free telephone number: 1-888-FL-PREDATOR (1-888-357-7332).

 

The school performs criminal-background checks on its employees and volunteers with unsupervised access to children, but cannot attest to the background of the various parents with whom their child may associate away from school.

 

In cases of suspected Physical Abuse, Sexual abuse, or Neglect the employee should report those issues immediately to the 1-800-96Abuse hotline.

 

Notice: All employees will be required to complete ethics training on an annual basis as a condition of their employment with Modern Minds Learning

 

ETHICS IN EDUCATION POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
The Ethics in Education Act became effective July 1, 2008, and impacts certain operational procedures for private schools participating in Florida Scholarship Programs.

 

Employment Screening 


All instructional personnel and school administrators in a position that requires direct contact with students are subject to screening standards.

 

As a participating private school, MML must disqualify from employment any instructional personnel or school administrator who is convicted of an act listed under Sections 1012.315 and 435.04, Florida Statutes.

 

To comply with this requirement, MML will review the level 2 criminal history report received for all employees (obtained through the VECHS program) and disqualify any employee convicted of an offense listed in Sections 1012,315 and 435.04, Florida Statutes. Additionally, MML will retain employees’ fingerprints with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

 

As a participating private school, MML must conduct an employment history check before employing instructional personnel or school administrators in any position that requires direct contact with students.

 

To comply with this requirement, MML will contact the applicant’s previous employer. All efforts will be verified and results will be documented in writing and maintained in the individual employee’s file. If we are unable to contact a previous employer, GDS will document its efforts.

 

As a participating private school, MML must screen new instructional personnel and/or school administrators using the two employee screening tools developed by the Department of Education. New instructional personnel and/or school administrators are those individuals employed after the law (Ethics in Education Act) became effective on July 1, 2008.

 

To comply with this requirement, MML will use the Professional Practices Database of Disciplinary Action provided by the Education Practices Commission which displays a summary of any disciplinary action taken against an individual’s Florida Educator certificate. A search on all instructional personnel and school administrators hired after July 1, 2008, will be documented and placed in the individual’s employee file.

 

MML will also use the Teacher Certification Database known as the Bureau of Educator Certification Partnership Access & Services System (BEC-PASS) which provides information related to an educator’s current certification status and employment history data. All certificate information will be maintained in the employees' files.


Employee Standards of Ethical Conduct
 

As a participating private school, MML has adopted the policies below establishing standards of ethical conduct for instructional personnel and school administrators.

 

MML and its instructional personnel, and school administrators value the worth and dignity of every person, the pursuit of truth, the devotion to excellence, the acquisition of knowledge, and the nurture of democratic citizenship. Essential to the achievement of these standards is the freedom to learn and to teach and the guarantee of equal opportunity for all.

 

MML and its instructional personnel and school administrators’ primary professional concern will always be for the student and for the development of the student's potential. Therefore, we will strive for professional growth and seek to exercise the best professional judgment and integrity.

Training Requirement

All instructional personnel, educational support employees, and administrators are required as a condition of employment to complete training on these standards of ethical conduct.

 

Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession

 

The following disciplinary rule shall constitute the Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida.

 

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.

 

Obligation to the student requires that the individual: 

  • Shall make a 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. 

  • Shall not unreasonably restrain a student from independent action in pursuit of learning. 

  • Shall not unreasonably deny a student access to diverse points of view. 

  • Shall not intentionally suppress or distort subject matter relevant to a student's academic program. 

  • Shall not intentionally expose a student to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement. 

  • Shall not intentionally violate or deny a student's legal rights. 

  • 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. 

  • Shall not exploit a relationship with a student for personal gain or advantage. 

  • Shall keep in confidence personally identifiable information obtained in the course of professional service, unless disclosure serves professional purposes or is required by law.

 

Obligation to the public requires that the individual:

  • Shall take reasonable precautions to distinguish between personal views and those of any educational institution or organization with which the individual is affiliated. 

  • Shall not intentionally distort or misrepresent facts concerning an educational matter in direct or indirect public expression. 

  • Shall not use institutional privileges for personal gain or advantage. 

  • Shall accept no gratuity, gift, or favor that might influence professional judgment. 

  • Shall offer no gratuity, gift, or favor to obtain special advantages.

 

Obligation to the profession of education requires that the individual: 

  • Shall maintain honesty in all professional dealings. 

  • 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.

  • Shall not interfere with a colleague's exercise of political or civil rights and responsibilities. 

  • 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. 

  • Shall not make malicious or intentionally false statements about a colleague. 

  • Shall not use coercive means or promise special treatment to influence the professional judgments of colleagues. 

  • Shall not misrepresent one's own professional qualifications. 

  • Shall not submit fraudulent information on any document in connection with professional activities. 

  • 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. 

  • Shall not withhold information regarding a position from an applicant or misrepresent an assignment or conditions of employment. 

  • Shall provide upon the request of the certificated individual a written statement of a specific reason for recommendations that lead to the denial of increments, significant changes in employment, or termination of employment.

  • 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. 

  • Shall self-report within forty-eight (48) hours to appropriate authorities (as determined by the Head of School or her designee) any arrests/charges involving the abuse of a child or the sale and/or possession of a controlled substance. Such notice shall not be considered an admission of guilt nor shall such notice be admissible for any purpose in any proceeding, civil or criminal, administrative or judicial, investigatory or adjudicatory. In addition, shall self-report any conviction, finding of guilt, withholding of adjudication, commitment to a pretrial diversion program, or entering of a plea of guilty or Nolo Contendere for any criminal offense other than a minor traffic violation within forty-eight (48) hours after the final judgment. When handling sealed and expunged records disclosed under this rule, the school shall comply with the confidentiality provisions of Sections 943.0585(4)(c) and 943.059(4)(c), Florida Statutes. 

  • Shall report to appropriate authorities any known allegation of a violation of the Florida School Code or State Board of Education Rules as defined in Section 1012.795(1), Florida Statutes. 

  • Shall seek no reprisal against any individual who has reported any allegation of a violation of the Florida School Code or State Board of Education Rules as defined in Section 1012.795(1), Florida Statutes. 

  • Shall comply with the conditions of an order of the Education Practices Commission. 

  • Shall, as the supervising administrator, cooperate with the Education Practices Commission in monitoring the probation of a subordinate. 
    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 instructional personnel, educational support employees and school administrators have an obligation to report misconduct by instructional personnel, educational support employees 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 Director, Steve Waterman via email at stevewaterman@modernmindslearning.com

 

Reports of misconduct committed by administrators should be made to the Dean, Tiffany Seltzer, via email at tiffanyseltzer@modernmindslearning.com

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 school entrance and on our website at www.modernmindslearning.com.

 

Liability Protections
 

Any person, official, or institution participating in good faith in any activity 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) 
 

REPORTING CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT 
 

Section 1006.061(1), Florida Statutes requires each district school, charter school, and private school that accepts scholarship students under section 220.187 or section 1002.39 to post in a prominent place a notice that pursuant to chapter 39 all employees and agents of the district school board, charter school or private school have an affirmative duty to report all actual or suspected cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect. Call 800-96-ABUSE or Report it online at:  http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/report.

 

As a participating private school, MML has notices posted stating that all employees have a duty to report actual or suspected cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect. Employees will have immunity from liability if they report an incident and will have a duty to comply with child protective investigations.

 

Signs of Physical Abuse
The child may have unexplained bruises, welts, cuts, or other injuries, broken bones and 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 the 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
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, 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 do not 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.

  • Do not 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.

  • Do not delay. Never assume someone else will report the abuse. The sooner it is reported, the sooner the child and their family can be helped.


Who Must Report Abuse?

  • Doctors 

  • Nurses

  • Social Workers

  • Police Officer

  • Child Care Worker

  • Any Witnesses

  • Any/All School Personnel

EMPLOYEE CONDUCT POLICY


MML is 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. MML also strives to achieve and sustain the highest degree of ethical conduct. Employees should conduct themselves at all times, including off-duty hours, in a manner that will uphold the standards of GDS. Professionalism is to be maintained by employees at all times.

 

Any action taken by an employee that could result in a situation detrimental to our students or is determined to be illegal, immoral, and/or unethical will result in immediate dismissal. 
 

Employees will refrain from discussing or belittling students and/or co-workers in public or in private.

 

Employee remarks to students are to be on a professional level, avoiding detrimental comments about other employees or students.

 

Employees will refrain from the use of obscene language, rude or inappropriate comments, prejudice or bigotry, and/or physical aggression.

 

Employees must be cognizant of the following statutes:

 

39.203 Immunity from liability in cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect. (1)(a) Any person, official, or institution participating in good faith in any act authorized or required by this chapter, 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.

 

(b) Except as provided in this chapter, nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to grant immunity, civil or criminal, to any person suspected of having abused, abandoned, or neglected a child, or committed any illegal act upon or against a child.

 

(2)(a) No resident or employee of a facility serving children may be subjected to reprisal or discharge because of his or her actions in reporting abuse, abandonment, or neglect pursuant to the requirements of this section.

 

(b) Any person making a report under this section shall have a civil cause of action for appropriate compensatory and punitive damages against any person who causes detrimental changes in the employment status of such reporting party by reason of his or her making such report. Any detrimental change made in the residency or employment status of such person, including, but not limited to, discharge, termination, demotion, transfer, or reduction in pay or benefits or work privileges, or negative evaluations within a prescribed period of time shall establish a reputable presumption that such action was retaliatory.

 

768.095 Employer immunity from liability; disclosure of information regarding former or current employees. 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 chapter 760.


Harassment
 

MML does not and will not tolerate harassment of our employees and/or students.  The term ‘harassment’ includes, but is not limited to, slurs, jokes, and other verbal, graphic or physical conduct relating to an individual’s race, color, gender, religion, national origin, citizenship, age, or disability.  ‘Harassment’ also includes sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, offensive touching, and other verbal, graphic or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

 

Violation of this policy will subject an employee to disciplinary action up to, and including, immediate discharge.

 

If you feel that you are being harassed in any way by a co-worker or supervisor, you should notify the Head of School or her designee immediately.  In addition, if you believe that an employee of MML is harassing a student in any way, you should notify the Head of School or her designee immediately.  Any such matter will be thoroughly investigated, and when appropriate, disciplinary action will be taken

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