Child Protection Policies & Procedure

Introduction

These policies and procedures provide The Pike School community with useful information about the protection and safety of children.

Employee Responsibilities

The Pike School community has almost 100 full and part­time personnel. The School seeks people of vitality and enthusiasm, who have a thorough knowledge of the work for which they are hired. Professional conduct should be a matter of course for everyone.

Faculty is expected to have a love of learning and teaching, to like and respect children and to understand the moral and intellectual ends for which they teach. State certification is not required for teaching at The Pike School. The task of all Pike teachers is to know their students well and to counsel and guide them with regard for their personal and academic development. All teachers share in student guidance and may be asked to join with colleagues in conferences with the Division Head and parents.

Faculty are expected to carry out their duties carefully in accordance with the policies, customs and traditions of the school. These duties are made clear either in the form of written memoranda or oral instruction. All faculty, administration and staff are appointed to extra­curricular duties, e.g. recess, lunch or dismissal duties. Most of these assignments are made prior to the first faculty meeting and some are made on a rotating basis throughout the year.

Administration and Staff members are expected to act with professionalism and to be a positive reflection of The Pike School, to be courteous to students, parents, and all Pike employees, to use the School’s resources and equipment for School purposes only and to comply with the School’s policies and practices and with federal, state and local laws. Administration and Staff are also expected to carry out their duties carefully in accordance with the policies, customs and traditions of the school. From time to time, administration, faculty and staff may be asked to participate in duties that are a part of the life of the school.

At no time should an Administrative, faculty or staff person be alone with a student in a place without visual access (e.g. windows).

Professional standards and responsibilities & code of conduct for all employees of The Pike School

The academic and behavioral standards of the school are established and maintained by the faculty, staff and administration. Dialogue, debate and freedom to experiment are fundamental to academic strength. All faculty are expected to serve as initiators and innovators in academic thinking. Many matters of educational policy and practice come under discussion by the faculty either in full faculty, departmental, committee or respective division meetings and respect is essential to full dialogue.

Professional ethics require that employees exercise discretion in their comments, whether written or spoken, regarding a colleague, a student, or school policies.

Faculty are encouraged to study in their fields and to remain abreast of the changing practices in education through professional associations and publications. An annual professional development budget to encourage and assist faculty in this area is administered by the Head of School. (See Professional Development Policy for more details.) Administration and staff are also encouraged to attend appropriate workshops and seminars. The School has made a significant commitment to integrating technology into its curriculum. All Employees are encouraged to continue professional development in this area.

The school requires professional standards of classroom management including lesson planning, homework assignments, marking procedures and records, examination preparation, and attendance at all faculty meetings. Faculty is evaluated against these standards annually. Variations in professional growth and supervision exist among divisions of the school. The core of the process, however, remains constant. Faculty observation provides those involved with opportunities for suggestion, collaboration, reflections and growth.

Code of Ethical Conduct for Employees in Relation to Students at The Pike School

Introduction:

This Code of Conduct is intended to provide guidance to all members of The Pike School community regarding appropriate interactions between adults and students. Although it is not intended to be an exhaustive list of expectations and prohibited behavior, it should serve as a reminder that the actions of administration, faculty and staff should at all times be above reproach, governed by common sense, and taken with the best interests of the students and the school in mind.

General Principles:

As employees of this learning and teaching community, we recognize that we have special responsibilities and duties of care for our students. We understand and accept fully the trust placed in us by our students and their families. We recognize that learning occurs best, in a school, when trust and a sense of security are systemic within our community. In situations that raise concerns about the well­being or safety of any member of our community, it is our responsibility to utilize the available resources of the School to address the situation urgently.

In light of the above:

● We promote a culture of dignity and respect within our community;

● We pledge to nurture the well­being and safety of our students at all times, always to be focused on these interests, and ready to act on them;

● We acknowledge that the inherent imbalance of power in our relationships with students requires us to maintain healthy boundaries in our interactions with them. In the behavioral domain, we adhere strictly to those sections of the Employee Handbook, especially but not only the prohibition on all forms of sexual or romantic contact, that have always been explicit about such interactions;

● In the verbal domain, we observe appropriate boundaries in spoken and written, including electronic, communication. In this last regard, we acknowledge and uphold the specific clauses of the Acceptable Use Policy that refer specifically to electronic, including social media, communication.

Standards of Behavior:

Employees should at all times act in accordance with the General Principles stated above. It is not possible to create an exhaustive list of standards for behavior to cover every potential situation involving conduct with students.

The following are examples of behavioral standards to help guide employees when engaging with students.

When interacting with students, whether in person or otherwise, employees must at all times:

● Be alert to the imbalance of power that exists in relationships between adults and students and never abuse it. This imbalance can continue after the student has graduated from The Pike School.

● Establish and maintain healthy boundaries with students and refrain from any conduct that places the interests of the adult ahead of the student’s interests.

● Conduct themselves as role models for the students.

● Operate in a manner consistent with the mission of the school and which reflects well on the school.

● Set appropriate limits with students and encourage their growth, learning and autonomy.

● Refer students in need of counseling or other health services or attention to the appropriate professional.

The following conduct by employees is prohibited:

Any sexual, romantic or dating relationship with students; any activity with students that could be considered sexual or romantic in nature; or any sexual, romantic or unduly familiar behavior or communications (including inappropriate personal stories and history) with students whether in person or indirectly through the use of email, telephone, social networking or other media.

Engaging in, participating in or condoning in any way the use of alcohol or illegal drugs by students.

Sharing or disclosing any information concerning a student, other than on a need to know basis, to any person not specifically authorized to receive such information. This includes, but is not limited to, information concerning educational assessments, test scores, grades, behavior, mental or physical health, and family background or finances.

Compliance:

Compliance with this Code of Conduct and the expectations and policies contained in The Pike School Employee Handbook is a condition of employment at The Pike School. Individuals who fail to comply with this Code of Conduct shall be subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.

It is the duty of every member of The Pike School community to report any and all instances of suspected violation of this Code of Conduct. Such reports should be promptly made directly to The Pike School Administration Team or a member of it, verbally or in writing. Employees should not hesitate to raise questions about whether conduct or concerns regarding the appropriateness of behavior should be reported directly to the Head of School.

Reports or complaints will be investigated. It is the duty of all members of the community to cooperate with any investigation. Although confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, every effort will be made to protect the privacy of those involved and limit the sharing of information to those who have a need to know.

Filing a false complaint, or providing false information in connection with the investigation of a complaint, is grounds for disciplinary action.

Finally, employees and students who make good faith reports of possible inappropriate behavior or who cooperate with investigations are protected from retaliation. Any perceived retaliation should immediately be brought to the attention of the Head of School. Any individual found to have retaliated against someone for reporting a perceived violation of this policy, or participating in an investigation, shall be subject to discipline.

Examples of Professional Expectations

For Pike to thrive, everyone – teachers, administrators and staff – must take the initiative to make it a supportive community of learners.

The following are ways in which teachers fulfill their professional responsibilities. The numbered items are expected of everyone. Many choose to contribute beyond required expectations. Examples of these are the bulleted items.

Contribute to the Pike Community:

1. Is involved in activities (divisional, school­wide, and/or fundraising)

2. Contributes constructively to meetings (faculty, team, committee, PLC)

3. Shares talents, knowledge, and/or experience with other staff members

4. Works cooperatively with all members of the Pike community

5. Serves as a committee member

6. Assumes a leadership role among colleagues

7. Serves as mentor/directing teacher to other faculty

8. Participates in student activities and events

Promote Positive Parent and Community Relations:

1. Establishes a working relationship with the home (phone calls, e­mail, newsletters)

2. Communicates honestly and openly with parents at conferences and other meetings

3. Uses parent and/or community resources

Continue Professional Growth and Development:

1. Participates in professional activities and remains current in areas of expertise (courses, conferences, leadership training, readings)

2. Makes curriculum contributions (changes, modifications, innovations)

3. Shows openness to new ideas

● Presents at parent forums, conferences, intern seminars

● Takes leadership role in study groups and other aspects of school life

● Visits/observes colleagues

Promote Positive, Socially Responsible Relationships:

1. Establishes positive rapport with students in and outside the classroom

2. Helps students develop a sense of responsibility and self­-discipline

3. Helps students interact effectively in all settings (classroom, recess, sports, hallways, dining room, dismissal, assemblies, clubs/activities)

4. Upholds standards consistently and fairly

5. Demonstrates and encourages respect for others regardless of differences

Fulfill Teaching and/or Administrative Responsibilities and Assigned Duties:

1. Meets and instructs assigned classes in the locations and at the times designated

2. Completes assigned reports on time and in a full and accurate manner

3. Performs conscientiously other assigned non­teaching duties such as arrival/dismissal, study hall, lunch, recess, homeroom/advisor, detention, hallways, etc.

4. Updates curriculum maps, unit calendars, and other critical documents yearly

Every member of the Pike Community:

1. Is involved in activities (divisional, school­wide and/or fund­raising)

2. Contributes constructively to meetings (faculty, team, committee)

3. Shares talents, knowledge, and/or experience with other staff members

4. Works cooperatively with all members of the Pike community

A contributor who contributes beyond expectations:

1. Serves as a committee member

2. Assumes a leadership role among colleagues

3. Serves as mentor/directing teacher to other faculty/staff

4. Participates in student activities and events

Criminal and sex offender background check policy

It is the policy of the School to minimize the risk of violence and other criminal conduct towards its students, parents, employees, volunteers, and visitors and to comply with all applicable laws. As such, the School conducts criminal and sex offender background checks on all current and prospective employees and current and prospective volunteers who may have direct and unmonitored contact with children by obtaining Criminal Offender Record Information (“CORI”) from the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (“DCJIS”) and Sex Offender Registration Information (“SORI”) from the Sex Offender Registry Board (“SORB”) and other state and federal sex offender registries. The School also conducts fingerprint­based state and national criminal history record checks on all current and prospective employees who may have direct and unmonitored contact with children by obtaining fingerprint­based Criminal History Record Information (“CHRI”) provided by the Massachusetts Statewide Applicant Fingerprint Identification Services (“SAFIS”), through DCJIS.

CORI, CHRI, and other criminal history checks may be part of a general background check for employment or volunteer service. The following practices and procedures are general guidelines relative to such background checks.

CORI

Conducting CORI Screening:

CORI checks will be conducted as authorized by DCJIS and MGL c. 6, § 172, after the School obtains a completed CORI Acknowledgement Form.

If a new CORI check is to be conducted on an individual within a year of his/her signing of the CORI Acknowledgement Form, the individual will be given seventy two (72) hours’ notice that a new CORI check will be conducted.

Access To CORI:

All CORI obtained from DCJIS is confidential, and access to the information must be limited to those individuals who have a “need to know.” This may include, but not be limited to: hiring managers, staff submitting CORI requests, and staff responsible for processing job applications. The School will maintain and keep a current list of each individual authorized to have access to, or view, CORI. This list will be updated every six (6) months and is subject to inspection upon request by DCJIS.

CORI Training:

An informed review of a criminal record requires training. Accordingly, all School personnel authorized to review or access CORI or any other information obtained via criminal history background checks will review, and will be thoroughly familiar with, the educational and relevant training materials regarding CORI laws and regulations made available by DCJIS.

Use Of Criminal History In Background Screening:

CORI used for employment purposes will be accessed only for applicants who are otherwise qualified for the position for which they have applied and who have received a conditional offer of employment.

Unless otherwise provided by law, a criminal record will not automatically disqualify an applicant. Rather, determinations of suitability based on background checks will be made consistent with this policy and applicable laws and regulations.

Verifying An Individual’s Identity:

If a criminal record is received from DCJIS, the information will be closely compared with the information on the CORI Acknowledgement Form and any other identifying information provided by the individual, to help ensure that the criminal record belongs to the individual.

If the information in the CORI record provided does not exactly match the identification information provided by the individual, a determination will be made, by an individual authorized to make such determinations, based on a comparison of the CORI record and documents provided by the individual.

Inquiring About Criminal History:

In connection with any decision regarding employment or volunteer services, the individual shall be provided with a copy of the criminal history record, whether obtained from DCJIS or from any other source, prior to questioning the individual about his or her criminal history. The source(s) of the criminal history record will also be disclosed to the individual.

Determining Suitability:

If a determination is made that the criminal record belongs to the individual and the individual does not dispute the record’s accuracy, then the determination of suitability for the position will be made.

Unless otherwise provided by law, factors considered in determining suitability may include, but not

be limited to, the following:

a) Relevance of the record to the position sought;

b) The nature of the work to be performed;

c) Time since the conviction or completion of any resulting sentence;

d) Age of the individual at the time of the offense;

e) Nature, seriousness and specific circumstances of the offense;

f) The number of offenses;

g) Whether the applicant has pending charges;

h) Any relevant evidence of rehabilitation or lack thereof;

i) The degree of satisfaction of any parole or probation conditions;

j) The length and consistency of employment before and after the offense;

k) Employment or character references and any other information regarding fitness for the

particular position, as evaluated in light of the CORI Report (as distinguished from the reference check conducted prior to making an offer of employment or volunteer service);

l) Whether the individual presents evidence that he or she is bonded under a federal, state, or local bonding program; and

m) Any other relevant information, including information submitted by the candidate or requested by the School.

The individual is to be notified of the decision and the basis for it in a timely manner.

Adverse Decisions Based On CORI:

If the School is inclined to make an adverse decision based on the results of a criminal history background check, the individual will be notified immediately. The individual shall be provided with a copy of the School’s Criminal and Sex Offender Background Check Policy, a copy of the CORI Report (which shall include the source of the CORI Report), and a copy of DCJIS’s “Information Concerning the Process in Correcting a Criminal Record.” The School will also inform the individual of the specific part of the CORI that appears to make the individual ineligible for employment or volunteer service, and provide the individual with an opportunity to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the CORI Report, including whether the CORI Report relates to the specific individual.

Secondary Dissemination Logs:

All CORI obtained from DCJIS is confidential and will be disseminated only as authorized by law and regulation. A “secondary dissemination log” shall be used to record any dissemination of CORI outside of the School, including dissemination at the request of the individual who is the subject of the CORI.

CORI Procedures:

Each applicant, employee or volunteer will be required to complete and sign a CORI Acknowledgement Form in conjunction with any application for employment or volunteer service with the School. If the School decides to make an offer of employment or volunteer service, such offer or approval is expressly conditioned upon receipt of satisfactory CORI and/or SORI reports, as determined in the sole discretion of the School.

A. Employees and volunteers may also be required to complete and sign a CORI Acknowledgement Form on a periodic basis. This form must be completed within three (3) business days following receipt of the form. Continued employment or volunteer services is expressly conditioned upon receipt of satisfactory CORI and SORI checks, as determined in the sole discretion of the School.

B. The School will send a request for SORI to the SORB and other state and federal sex offender registries. The process of obtaining SORI reports can take several days. The School will send a request for CORI to DCJIS. CORI reports are available online, and are usually available immediately after the request is made.

C. A SORI report identifying an individual as a level 2 or 3 sex offender will result in disqualification from employment or volunteer services with the School.

D. If a criminal record is received from DCJIS, the information will be closely compared with the information on the CORI Acknowledgement Form and any other identifying information provided by the individual, to ensure that the criminal record belongs to the individual.

If the information in the CORI record provided does not exactly match the identification information provided by the individual, a determination will be made, by an individual authorized to make such determinations, based on a comparison of the CORI record and documents provided by the individual.

E. If a determination is made that the criminal record belongs to the applicant, employee, or volunteer, then a determination of suitability for the position will be made by the School. In determining whether an individual’s CORI report is acceptable, the School will consider applicable laws and regulations and the nature of the conviction and/or pending charge information. A conviction or pending charge for certain child­ related offenses, such as acts of violence against individuals or property, drug offenses or sexual offenses, as mentioned above, will almost always result in disqualification from employment or volunteer service with the School. A conviction or pending charge for other offenses may result in disqualification from employment or volunteer service with the School, as determined within the sole discretion of the School.

CHRI

This policy is applicable to any fingerprint­ based state and national criminal history record check made for non-­criminal justice purposes and requested under applicable federal authority and/or state statute authorizing such checks for licensing or employment purposes. Where such checks are allowable by law, the following practices and procedures will be followed.

Requesting CHRI Checks:

Fingerprint­based CHRI checks will be conducted only as authorized by M.G.L. c. 71, §38R and 42 U.S.C. § 16962, in accordance with all applicable state and federal rules and regulations, and in compliance with M.G.L. c. 6, §§ 167­178 and 803 CMR §§ 2.00, et seq. All current and prospective employees who may have direct and unmonitored contact with children (including those employees who regularly provide School­related transportation to children) are required to submit to a CHRI check and will be informed of CHRI requirements and instructed on how to comply with the law, including information on the procedure for submitting fingerprints. In addition, the applicant or employee will be provided with all information needed to successfully register for a fingerprinting appointment (e.g., SAFIS/fingerprint vendor web site address, Provider Identification Number (“Provider ID”)).

Access To CHRI:

All CHRI is subject to strict state and federal rules and regulations in addition to Massachusetts CORI laws and regulations. CHRI cannot be shared with any unauthorized entity for any purpose, including subsequent hiring determinations. All receiving entities are subject to audit by DCJIS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and failure to comply with such rules and regulations could lead to sanctions. Title 28, U.S.C, § 534, Pub. L. 92­544 and Title 28 C.F.R. 20.33(b) provide that the exchange of records and information is subject to cancellation if dissemination is made outside of the receiving entity or related entities. Furthermore, an entity can be charged criminally for unauthorized disclosure of CHRI.

Storage Of CHRI:

CHRI shall be stored for extended periods of time only when needed for the integrity and/or utility of an individual's personnel file. Administrative, technical, and physical safeguards, which are in compliance with the most recent CJIS Security Policy, have been implemented to ensure the security and confidentiality of CHRI. Each individual involved in the handling of CHRI is to familiarize himself/herself with these safeguards. In addition to the above, each individual involved in the handling of CHRI will strictly adhere to the policy regarding storage, retention and destruction of CHRI.

Retention And Destruction Of CHRI:

Federal law prohibits the repurposing or dissemination of CHRI beyond its initial requested purpose. Once an individual's CHRI is received, it will be securely retained by the School for the following purposes only:

  • Historical reference and/or comparison with future CHRI requests;
  • Dispute of the accuracy of the record; or
  • Evidence for any subsequent proceedings based on information contained in the CHRI.

CHRI will be kept for the above purposes in [Insert specifics of the storage location]. When no longer needed, CHRI and any summary of CHRI data must be destroyed by shredding paper copies and/or by deleting all electronic copies from the electronic storage location, including any backup copies or files. The shredding of paper copies of CHRI by an outside vendor must be supervised by the School.

CHRI Training:

An informed review of a criminal record requires training. Accordingly, all personnel authorized to receive and/or review CHRI will review and become familiar with the educational and relevant training materials regarding SAFIS and CHRI laws and regulations made available by the appropriate agencies, including DCJIS.

Determining Suitability:

In determining an individual's suitability, unless otherwise provided by law, factors considered in determining suitability may include, but not be limited to, the following:

a) Relevance of the record to the position sought;

b) The nature of the work to be performed;

c) Time since the conviction or completion of any resulting sentence;

d) Age of the individual at the time of the offense;

e) Nature, seriousness and specific circumstances of the offense;

f) The number of offenses;

g) Whether the applicant has pending charges;

h) Any relevant evidence of rehabilitation or lack thereof;

i) The degree of satisfaction of any parole or probation conditions;

j) The length and consistency of employment before and after the offense;

k) Employment or character references and any other information regarding fitness for the particular position, as evaluated in light of the CHRI report (as distinguished from the reference check conducted prior to making an offer for employment or volunteer service);

l) Whether the individual presents evidence that he or she is bonded under a federal, state, or local bonding program; and

m) Any other relevant information, including information submitted by the candidate or requested by the School.

A record of the suitability determination will be retained. The following information will be included in the determination:

  • The name and date of birth of the individual;
  • The date on which the School received the CHRI results; and
  • The suitability determination (either "suitable" or "unsuitable").

Schools are required to provide documentation of the suitability determination of an individual to another school or to the individual, upon request.

Relying On Previous Suitability Determination:

Consistent with 603 CMR 51.06, the School may rely on a suitability determination made by another school employer. Relevant factors might include: date of previous suitability determination, type of organization that conducted the previous determination (public school district, private school), and/or state of residence of subject of suitability determination.

Adverse Decisions Based On CHRI:

If inclined to make an adverse decision based on an individual’s CHRI, the School will take the following steps prior to making a final adverse determination:

  • Provide the individual with a copy of his or her CHRI used in making the adverse decision;
  • Provide the individual with a copy of the School’s Criminal and Sex Offender Background Check Policy;
  • Provide the individual an opportunity to complete or challenge the accuracy of his or her CHRI; and
  • Provide the individual with a copy of DCJIS’ “How to Change, Correct, or Update Your National Criminal History Record Response.”

The School will also inform the individual of the specific part of the CHRI that appears to make the individual ineligible for employment, and provide the individual with an opportunity to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the CHRI Report, including whether the CHRI Report relates to the specific individual.

Secondary Dissemination Of CHRI:

If an individual’s CHRI is released to another school employer, a record of that dissemination must be made in the secondary dissemination log. The secondary dissemination log is subject to audit by DCJIS and the FBI.

The following information will be recorded in the log:

  • Name;
  • Date of Birth;
  • Date and time of the dissemination;
  • Name of the individual to whom the information was provided;
  • Name of the school employer for which the requestor (i.e., the individual for whom the School conducted a suitability determination) works;
  • Contact information for the requestor; and
  • The specific reason for the request.

Reporting To Commissioner Of Elementary And Secondary Education:

Pursuant to M.G.L. ch. 71, § 71R and 603 CMR 51.07, if the School dismisses, declines to renew the employment of, obtains the resignation of, or declines to hire a licensed educator or an applicant for a Massachusetts educator license because of information discovered through a state or national criminal record check, the School shall report such decision or action to the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education in writing within 30 days of the employer’s action or educator’s resignation. The report shall be in a form requested by the Department and shall include the reason for the action or resignation as well as a copy of the criminal record check results. The School shall notify the employee or applicant that it has made a report, pursuant to 603 CMR 51.07(1), to the Commissioner.

Pursuant to M.G.L. ch. 71, § 71R and 603 CMR 51.07, if the School discovers information from a state or national criminal record check about a licensed educator or an applicant for a Massachusetts educator license that implicates grounds for license action pursuant to 603 CMR 7.15(8)(a), the School shall report to the Commissioner in writing within 30 days of the discovery, regardless of whether the School retains or hires the educator as an employee. The report must include a copy of the criminal record check results. The School shall notify the employee or applicant that it has made a report, pursuant to 603 CMR 51.07(2), to the Commissioner and shall also send a copy of the criminal record check results to the employee or applicant.

CHRI Procedures

A. Each prospective or current employee whose CORI results did not preclude employment will be required to register and complete the fingerprint process with SAFIS in conjunction with any application for employment with the School. If the School decides to make an offer of employment, such offer or approval will be expressly conditioned upon receipt of satisfactory CHRI reports, as determined in the sole discretion of the School.

B. Continued employment is expressly conditioned upon receipt of satisfactory CHRI checks, as determined in the sole discretion of the School.

C. If a criminal record is received from DCJIS, the information will be closely compared with any identifying information provided by the individual, to ensure that the criminal record belongs to the individual.

D. If the information in the CHRI record provided does not exactly match the identification information provided by the individual, a determination will be made, by an individual authorized to make such determinations, based on a comparison of the CHRI record and documents provided by the individual.

E. If a determination is made that the criminal record belongs to the applicant or employee, then a determination of suitability for the position will be made by the School. In determining whether an individual’s CHRI Report is acceptable, the School will consider applicable laws and regulations and the nature of the conviction and/or pending charge information. A conviction or pending charge for certain child­related offenses, such as acts of violence against individuals or property, drug offenses or sexual offenses, as mentioned above, will almost always result in disqualification from employment with the School. A conviction or pending charge for other offenses may result in disqualification from employment with the School, as determined within the sole discretion of the School.

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