Senate Bill 1712 (Chapter Law 2008-108), the Ethics in Education Act, became effective July 1, 2008, and impacts certain operational procedures for private schools participating in Scholarship Programs. The Act amends Section 1002.421, Florida Statutes, related to participating private school accountability, by adding new requirements to the employee screening process. All instructional personnel and school administrators in a position that requires direct contact with students are subject to the new screening standards. The private school accountability statute has also been amended to require private schools to develop standards of ethical conduct for the school’s instructional personnel and administrators. Instructional personnel and school administrators are defined by Sections 1012.01(2) and (3), Florida Statutes. Finally, the Act amends Section 1006.061, Florida Statutes, related to the state’s child abuse, abandonment, and neglect policy.
All Fireflies Academy instructional personnel, educational support employees, and administrators are required as a condition of employment to complete training on these standards of ethical conduct. All Fireflies Academy instructional personnel will have three or more years of public and/or private school teaching experience; will hold a Baccalaureate degree or higher; and/or have special skills, knowledge, or expertise that qualifies them to provide instruction in subjects taught.
The State Board of Education has adopted a Code of Ethics for the education profession, which expresses the state’s expectations for the ethical conduct of educators:
Each person who seeks employment at Fireflies Academy must be fingerprinted and undergo a state and national criminal history background screening in accordance with the Florida Department of Education (DOE) requirements.
All Fireflies Academy employees and volunteers have been fully screened and background checked pursuant to state law.
Before employing instructional personnel or school administrators in any position that requires direct contact with students, school districts, charter schools, and private schools participating in an educational choice scholarship program must:
Instructional personnel and school administrators are ineligible for employment in any position that requires direct contact with students in a district school system, charter school, or private school participating in an educational choice scholarship program, if convicted of any:
These disqualifications from employment apply to delinquent and criminal acts committed in Florida or in another state. In addition, any person is ineligible for educator certification in Florida if convicted of any of these criminal or delinquent acts. Instructional and non-instructional personnel of any district school system, university lab school, charter school, or alternative school operating under contract with a district school system are ineligible for any position that requires direct contact with students if convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude as defined by state board rule.
All Fireflies Academy instructional personnel, educational support employees, and school administrators have an obligation to report the alleged misconduct by instructional personnel, educational support employees and school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student. Failure to report the alleged misconduct will result in immediate termination of employment at Fireflies Academy. 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.
All Fireflies Academy employees have an affirmative duty to report all actual or suspected cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect. All employees who know or have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused or neglected must report the information to the Executive Director, Lisa Stathoulopoulos, or to the Department of Children and Families' central abuse registry and tracking system (1-800-96Abuse or online at: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/report/). Failure to report suspected cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect will result in immediate termination of employment at Fireflies Academy.
Fireflies Academy ensures equal access and equal opportunity in its programs, services and activities to all students and staff on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, national origin, disability, age and marital status. Additionally, we strive to ensure that our educational environment is free of bias, stereotyping, discrimination and harassment.
Fireflies Academy has a zero tolerance policy for bullying. Bullying is defined as systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees that is severe or pervasive enough to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment; or unreasonably interfere with the individual's school performance or participation. Bullying includes instances of cyberbullying.
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