Assembly Bill 500 (AB 500) adds section 44050 to the California Education Code and requires schools to provide on the school’s website sections of their employee handbook that relate to interactions between employees and students. The following sections are excerpted from the Curtis School Employment Handbook (rev. 8/20/2017):
CONDUCT RULES (Pages 28-32)
Curtis School, like any other organization involving people working together, must have regulations for acceptable conduct to ensure orderly business operations and for the benefit and protection of the rights and safety of everyone. A good example of this are the regulations forbidding sexual harassment or discrimination. Certain regulations and guidelines established from time to time are published to promote a uniform understanding of what is considered both acceptable and unacceptable conduct.
Appropriate conduct is basically good conduct, good character, and good judgment, coupled with common sense. For the purpose of understanding, the following list of guidelines is provided. It is not all-inclusive but does provide examples of conduct that will lead to disciplinary action or termination.
- Failure to abide by standards of common decency and personal conduct while on duty; unlawful or improper conduct at any time or place which adversely affects the employee’s relationship with his or her job, students, or parents, fellow workers and Supervisors, or which is detrimental to the school’s reputation and goodwill in the community as determined by the school.
- Discourtesy in any form or disrespect to parents or employees; use of vulgarity or failing to render the appropriate degree of service or courtesy to any parent or student.
- Use of abusive, profane or obscene language; similar conduct directed to anyone, which causes or is intended to cause a disruption of work or the peaceful atmosphere of the School.
- Soliciting (or giving the impression of soliciting) gifts, money, samples or gratuities from parents, students, suppliers or others doing business with the school unless authorized by the School as described in the section on solicitations.
- Immoral, indecent, or illegal conduct; soliciting persons for immoral or improper purposes or the aiding and abetting of any of the above.
- Violation of any School policy or guideline, including, but not limited to the policy against sexual and other forms of harassment.
- The school policy is that employees should never be alone in private spaces one-on-one with students, on-campus or off-campus, such as during a field trip or away at athletic events.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST (Page 36)
An example of a conflict of interest [...] would be being paid to tutor a student that you [the student’s teacher] have in your class, which is not allowed. This is a conflict in that a parent shouldn’t have to pay you for special services that would ordinarily be part of your regular job as that student’s teacher. But providing a new point of view or fresh vision to a student who is in somebody else’s class could be beneficial to that student and are services that are appropriate for the parent to pay for.
DRIVING STUDENTS (Pages 57-58)
There are situations where Curtis School maintains control over the driving of Curtis students and where such driving is a personal or private matter.
Some Curtis employees are also parents in that they have children who are students in the school. When a parent employee engages in driving other parents’ children to and from school, they are doing so as a parent, and thus, this is a private arrangement between them and the other parents whose children they are driving. Like other carpooling parent drivers, parent drivers who are at the same time employees of Curtis School are not evaluated concerning their role as drivers. There is no school policy against parent employees participating in student carpooling.
There is, however, a Curtis School policy against employees who are not parents driving other parents’ children to and from school.
Putting a child in a car alone with an employee is just too vulnerable of a situation for both parties, providing too much of a risk for the school to accept or allow, even though it is believed that every occasion of such a driving is likely to be motivated by benevolence and generosity.