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Los Angeles COE |  BP  4119.12  Personnel

Non-Fraternization With Students - SP   

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See also BP 5145.71

The County Superintendent requires that all LACOE employees maintain a professional, ethical relationship with LACOE students that is conducive to an effective, safe learning environment, and that both classified and certificated staff members act as role models for students at all times, whether on or off school property and both during and outside of school hours. Staff members must establish appropriate personal boundaries with students and not engage in any behavior that could reasonably lead to even the appearance of impropriety.

All staff members are prohibited, under any circumstances, to date or engage in any improper fraternization or undue familiarity with students, regardless of the student's age and/or regardless of whether the student may have "consented" to such conduct. Further, staff members shall not entertain or socialize with students in such a manner or frequency as to create the perception that a dating unprofessional relationship may exist. Similarly, any action or comment by a staff member which invites romantic or sexual involvement with a student is considered highly unethical, in violation of LACOE policy, and may result in the notification of law enforcement officials and the filing of criminal charges and/or disciplinary action by LACOE up to and including termination of employment.

(cf. 5145.71 - Non-Fraternization with Students)

(cf. 4119.21 - Professional Standards)

Inappropriate employment behavior includes, but is not limited to: flirting; making suggestive comments; dating; requests for sexual activity; physical displays of affection; giving inappropriate personal gifts; frequent personal communication with a student (including, but not limited to phone, e-mail, text messages, chat rooms, websites, social media sites, letters, notes, etc.) unrelated to coursework or official school matters; providing alcohol or drugs to students; inappropriate touching; and engaging in sexual contact and/or sexual relations and transporting of students without parental and administrative written approval.

(cf. 5145.7 - Sexual Harassment)

Even if the student participated "willingly" in the activity (regardless of the student's age), inappropriate fraternization of staff members with students is against LACOE policy and may be in violation of professional standards of conduct and state law. However, inappropriate employee conduct does not need to rise to the level of criminal activity for such conduct to be in violation of LACOE rules and subject to appropriate disciplinary sanctions.

Students, school employees or third parties who believe that a student has been subjected to inappropriate staff behavior as enumerated in this policy, or who have knowledge of or witness any possible occurrence of inappropriate staff-student relations, shall report the incident to any staff member, the employee's supervisor, the student's principal, or LACOE's designated complaint officer. In all events, such reports shall be forwarded to the designated complaint officer for further investigation.

Anonymous complaints of inappropriate fraternization of staff members with students shall also be investigated by LACOE.

Investigations of allegations of inappropriate staff-student relations shall follow the procedures utilized for complaints of harassment within LACOE. Allegations of inappropriate staff-student behavior shall be promptly investigated and will be treated as confidential and private to the extent possible within legal constraints.

(cf. 1312.1 - Complaints Concerning County Office Employees)

(cf. 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedure)

Any employee having knowledge of, or reasonable suspicion that another employee may have engaged in inappropriate conduct with a student that may constitute child abuse (specifically, child abuse in an educational setting) must follow LACOE's reporting procedures for such allegations; and such information will be reported by the designated administrator as required by state law to law enforcement officials and/or Child Protective Services as may be applicable.

(cf. 5141.4 - Child Abuse Prevention and Reporting)

If a student initiates inappropriate behavior toward a staff member, that employee shall document the incident and report it to his/her building principal or supervisor.

LACOE shall promptly investigate all complaints of inappropriate staff-student relations, and take prompt corrective action to stop such conduct if it occurs.

Prohibition of Retaliation

The County Superintendent prohibits any retaliatory behavior directed against complainants, victims, witnesses, and/or any other individuals who participate in the investigation of allegations of inappropriate staff-student relations. Follow-up inquiries and/or appropriate monitoring shall be made to ensure that the alleged conduct has not resumed and that all those involved in the investigation have not suffered retaliation. Any act of retaliation is subject to appropriate disciplinary action by LACOE.

Training

The principal of each school site and/or department or program supervisor shall be responsible for informing students, staff and volunteers of the requirements of this policy, including the duty to report and the procedures established for investigation and resolution of complaints. Students shall be provided such information in an age appropriate manner. LACOE's policy shall be disseminated as appropriate to staff, students, and parents.

(cf. 4112.9 - Employee Notifications)

Disciplinary Sanctions

Any staff member who engages in inappropriate conduct with a student prohibited by the terms of this policy shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment in accordance with legal guidelines, LACOE policy and regulation, and the applicable collective bargaining agreement. A violation of this policy may also subject the employee to criminal and/or civil sanctions as well as disciplinary action by the State Department of Education.

(cf. 4117.4 - Dismissal)

(cf. 4117.7 - Employment Status Reports)

(cf. 4118 - Suspension/Disciplinary Action)

(cf. 4218 - Dismissal/Suspension/Disciplinary Action)

Legal References:

EDUCATION CODE

200-262.4 Prohibition of discrimination

44010 Sex offense; school employees

44242.5 Reports & review of alleged misconduct

GOVERNMENT CODE

12950.1 Sexual harassment

PENAL CODE

261.5 Unlawful sexual intercourse with minor

269 Lewd or lascivious acts involving children

290 et seq. Registration of sex offenders

11664 et seq. Child abuse and neglect reporting

CODE OF REGULATIONS, TITLE 5

80303 Reports of dismissal, resignation and other terminations for alleged misconduct

80331-80338 Rules of conduct for professional educators

UNITED STATES CODE, TITLE 20

1681 et seq. Chapter 38 Discrimination

UNITED STATES CODE, TITLE 42

2000h-2 - 2000h-6 Title IX, 1972 Education Act Amendments

Title DC of the Education Amendments of 1972

Note: Because the identical policy refers both to personnel and to students, the policy appears in the Personnel Section of the Policies Manual as number 4119.12 and in the Students Section as number 5145.71.

Policy LOS ANGELES COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION

adopted: February 17, 2016 Downey, California