Friday, November 2, 2001

Playing It Safe: The Code of Ethics for Educators

PeachStar Education Services and the Professional Standards Commission (PSC) are partnering to develop an instructional video about the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators. The video, set to begin production in Fall 2001, will feature a brief statement from Dr. F.D. Toth, the Executive Secretary of the PSC, regarding professionalism as educators; an introduction to the Code; the history of the Code?s creation; an explanation of the ten standards that constitute the Code; and look at several key problem areas.

According to the Professional Practices Section of the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators, the code "protects the health, safety and general welfare of students and educators, ensures the citizens of Georgia a degree of accountability within the education profession, and defines unethical conduct justifying disciplinary sanction." As mentioned above, the Code of Ethics centers around ten standards designed to ensure ethically appropriate behavior:

* Criminal Acts - An educator should aide by federal, state, and local laws and statues.
* Abuse of Students - An educator should always maintain a professional relationship with all students, both inside and outside the classroom.
* Alcohol or Drugs - An educator should refrain from the use of alcohol or illegal or unauthorized drugs during the course of professional practice.
* Misrepresentation or Falsification - An educator should exemplify honesty and integrity in the course of professional practice.
* Public Funds and Property - An educator entrusted with public funds and property should honor that trust with a high level of honesty, accuracy, and responsibility.
* Improper Remunerative Conduct - An educator should maintain integrity with students, colleagues, parents, patrons, or businesses when accepting gifts, gratuities, favors, and additional compensation.
* Confidential Information - An educator should comply with the state and federal laws and local school policies relating to the confidentiality of student records, unless disclosure is required or permitted by law.
* Abandonment of Contract - An educator should fulfill all of the terms and obligations detailed in the contract with the local board of education or education agency for the duration of the contract.
* Failure to Make a Required Report- An educator should file reports of a breach of one or more of the standards in the Code of Ethics, child abuse, or any other required report.
* Professional Conduct- An educator should demonstrate conduct that follows generally recognized professional standards.

Each of these standards carries with it a detailed proscription for unethical conduct that may be found in the complete text of the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators located at the Georgia PSC's website.

PeachStar and PSC feel that working with Georgia educators to come to a better understanding of their ethical obligations both inside and outside of the classroom will help to ensure students a safer, more secure environment in which to learn.