CODE OF ETHICS
Adapted from the Florida Department of Education, Rule 6A-10.081, Florida Administrative Code, Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida:
1. The educator values the worth and dignity of every person, the pursuit of truth, devotion to excellence, acquisition of knowledge, and the nurture of democratic citizenship. Essential to the achievement of these standards are the freedom to learn and to teach and the guarantee of equal opportunity for all.
2. The educator's primary professional concern will always be for the student and for the development of the student's potential. The educator will therefore strive for professional growth and will seek to exercise the best professional judgment and integrity.
3. Aware of the importance of maintaining the respect and confidence of one's colleagues, of students, of parents, and of other members of the community, the educator strives to achieve and sustain the highest degree of ethical conduct.
All instructional personnel and administrators are required as a condition of employment to complete training on these standards of ethical conduct. This training will be given during our in-service before school begins each school year.
Reporting Misconduct by Instructional Personnel and Administrators:
All employees and administrators have an obligation to report misconduct by instructional personnel and school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student. 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. Reports of misconduct of employees should be made to the Head of School. Reports of misconduct committed by administrators should be made to the Executive Pastor of Potential Church. Legally sufficient allegations of misconduct by Florida certified educators will be reported to the Office of Professional Practices Services. Policies and procedures for reporting misconduct by instructional personnel or school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student are posted in the Staff Break Room, and on our Web site at ilovepca.com.
Reporting Child Abuse, Abandonement or Neglect
SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE
All staff members are required to meet the requirements for suspected Child Abuse. All staff will be required to attend the Ethics in Education training during Orientation Week. Preschool is also required to read the Childcare documents (kept in the Registrar’s office) on child abuse and are required by law to report suspected cases of child abuse. The Florida Protective Services Abuse Registry Hotline is 800-96-ABUSE or 800-962-2873, or report online at: www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/report/.
If a staff member suspect’s child abuse, our policy is that he/she should discuss the situation with the administration before notifying The Florida Department of Children and Families or any other child advocacy organization. (This is not required by law, but it is a school policy).
If either the administration or the staff member is reasonably convinced that authorities should be notified, then a call to the Abuse Hotline should be made by the individual with first-hand information. If neither the administration nor the staff member is adequately convinced that a call to the Abuse Hotline is necessary, then both will still keep a written record of the conversation.
Signs of Physical Abuse:
The child may have unexplained bruises, welts, cuts, or other injuries, such as broken bones or burns. A child experiencing physical abuse may seem withdrawn or depressed, seem afraid to go home or may run away, shy away from physical contact, be aggressive, or wear inappropriate clothing to hide injuries.
Signs of Sexual Abuse:
The child may have torn, stained or bloody underwear, trouble walking or sitting, pain or itching in genital area, or a sexually transmitted disease. A child experiencing sexual abuse may have unusual knowledge of sex or act seductively, fear a particular person, seem withdrawn or depressed, gain or lose weight suddenly, shy away from physical contact, or run away from home.
Signs of Neglect:
The child may have unattended medical needs, little or no supervision at home, poor hygiene, or appear underweight. A child experiencing neglect may be frequently tired or hungry, steal food, or appear overly needy for adult attention.
Patterns of Abuse:
Serious abuse usually involves a combination of factors. While a single sign may not be significant, a pattern of physical or behavioral signs is a serious indicator and should be reported.
Prevention of Shaken Baby Syndrome and Abusive Head Trauma:
PCA believes that preventing, recognizing, responding to, and reporting shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma (SBS/AHT) is an important function of keeping children safe, protecting their healthy development, providing quality child care, and educating families.
SBS/AHT is the name given to a form of physical child abuse that occurs when an infant or small child is violently shaken and/or there is trauma to the head. Shaking may last only a few seconds, but can result in severe injury or even death. Children are observed for signs of abusive head trauma, including irritability and/or high pitched crying, difficulty staying awake/lethargy or loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, inability to lift the head, seizures, lack of appetite, vomiting, bruises, poor feeding/sucking, no smiling or vocalization, inability of the eyes to track and/or decreased muscle tone. Bruises may be found on the upper arms, rib cage, or head resulting from gripping or from hitting the head. If SBS/ABT is suspected, staff will inform the director and call 911 immediately.
The following strategies for preschool staff may work some of the time, but sometimes nothing will comfort a child. Staff will first determine if the child has any physical needs such as being hungry, tired, sick, or in need of a diaper change. If no physical need is identified, staff will attempt one or more of the following strategies: rock the child, hold the child close, or walk with the child. Stand up, hold the child close and repeatedly bend the knees. Sing or talk to the child in a soothing voice. Gently stroke the child’s back, chest, or tummy. Offer a pacifier or try to distract the child with a toy. Turn on music or other white noise. Hand the child to another caregiver and take a break. Behaviors that are prohibited include: shaking or jerking a child, tossing a child into the air or into a crib, chair, or pushing a child into walls, doors, or furniture.
Any person, official, or institution participating in good faith in any act authorized or required by law, or reporting in good faith any instance of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect to the department or any law enforcement agency, shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability which might otherwise result by reason of such action (F.S. 39.203).