Standards of Ethical Conduct
At the heart of Westwood Christian School is a culture defined by respect, balance, integrity, curiosity, leadership, as well as our commitment to the safety and health of employees and students. All members of the community have an obligation to know and uphold the church’s values and strive to embody them in word and deed. We therefore expect that all members of the community will:
- 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.
- 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.
- Concern for the student requires that our instructional personnel:
- 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.
- Shall not intentionally expose a student to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement.
- Shall not intentionally violate or deny a student's legal rights.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
We therefore expect that all members of the community will:
- Respect other people and their privacy and property, both within and beyond the school.
- Treat all human beings with dignity, refraining from behavior that intimidates, insults, threatens, bullies, coerces, abuses, exploits, harasses, humiliates, or demeans, acting with tolerance, courtesy, and thoughtful regard.
- Use words constructively, avoiding gossip and other inappropriate or unproductive sharing of information.
- Maintain high standards of honesty, avoiding deception, half-truths, and deliberately misleading words or behavior.
- Exemplify principles of responsibility and fairness in daily life.
- Observe safe behavior and report unsafe conditions or practices.
- Cultivate caring and compassion, seeking to serve others, both within and beyond the school.
All instructional personnel, educational support employees, 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, educational support 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 Mr. Bill Thomson, Head Administrator, at 305-274-3380 ext. 238 or bthomson@ westwoodchristian.org. Reports of misconduct committed by administrators should be made to Humberto Mendez, business manager, at 305-274-3380 ext. 203 or at hmendez@ westwoodchristian.org.
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 school website.
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.
Only authorized management personnel of the school are permitted to respond to requests for references from potential employers regarding a current or former employee. Any person authorized to respond to such references who does so at the request of a prospective employer or the current or former employee will be immune from liability pursuant to Fla. Stat. 768.095, as long as such response is truthful and not intended to violate the current or former employee’s civil rights. 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.
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)