(a)  The standards listed in this Section shall be generally accepted for the education profession and shall be the basis for State Board review of performance of professional educators. These standards shall establish mandatory prohibitions and requirements for educators. Violation of these standards shall subject an educator to investigation and disciplinary action by the SBE or LEA.

(b)  Professional educators shall adhere to the standards of professional conduct contained in this Rule. Any intentional act or omission that violates these standards is prohibited.

(1)           Generally recognized professional standards.  The educator shall practice the professional standards of federal, state, and local governing bodies.

(2)           Personal conduct.  The educator shall serve as a positive role model for students, parents, and the community. Because the educator is entrusted with the care and education of small children and adolescents, the educator shall demonstrate a high standard of personal character and conduct.

(3)           Honesty. The educator shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in the performance of professional duties including the following:

(A)          statement of professional qualifications;

(B)          application or recommendation for professional employment, promotion, or licensure;

(C)          application or recommendation for college or university admission, scholarship, grant, academic award, or similar benefit;

(D)          representation of completion of college or staff development credit;

(E)           evaluation or grading of students or personnel;

(F)           submission of financial or program compliance reports submitted to state, federal, or other governmental agencies;

(G)          submission of information in the course of an official inquiry by the employing LEA or the SBE related to facts of unprofessional conduct, provided, however, that an educator shall be given adequate notice of the allegations and may be represented by legal counsel; and

(H)          submission of information in the course of an investigation by a law enforcement agency, child protective services, or any other agency with the right to investigate, regarding school related criminal activity; provided, however, that an educator shall be entitled to decline to give evidence to law enforcement if such evidence may tend to incriminate the educator as that term is defined by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

(4)           Proper remunerative conduct.  The educator shall not solicit current students or parents of students to purchase equipment, supplies, or services from the educator in a private remunerative capacity. An educator shall not tutor for remuneration students currently assigned to the educator's classes, unless approved by the local superintendent. An educator shall not accept any compensation, benefit, or thing of value other than the educator's regular compensation for the performance of any service that the educator is required to render in the course and scope of the educator's employment. This Rule shall not restrict performance of any overtime or supplemental services at the request of the LEA; nor shall it apply to or restrict the acceptance of gifts or tokens of minimal value offered and accepted openly from students, parents, or other persons in recognition or appreciation of service.

(5)           Conduct with students.  The educator shall treat all students with respect. The educator shall not commit any abusive act or sexual exploitation with, to, or in the presence of a student, whether or not that student is or has been under the care or supervision of that educator, as defined below:

(A)          any use of language that is considered profane, vulgar, or demeaning;

(B)          any sexual act;

(C)          any solicitation of a sexual act, whether written, verbal, or physical;

(D)          any act of child abuse, as defined by law;

(E)           any act of sexual harassment, as defined by law; and

(F)           any intentional solicitation, encouragement, or consummation of a romantic or physical relationship with a student, or any sexual contact with a student. The term "romantic relationship" shall include dating any student.

(6)           Confidential information.  The educator shall keep in confidence personally identifiable information regarding students or their family members that has been obtained in the course of professional service, unless disclosure is required or permitted by law or professional standards, or is necessary for the personal safety of the student or others.

(7)           Rights of others.  The educator shall not willfully or maliciously violate the constitutional or civil rights of a student, parent/legal guardian, or colleague.

(8)           Required reports.  The educator shall make all reports required by G.S. 115C.

(9)           Alcohol or controlled substance abuse.  The educator shall not:

(A)          be under the influence of, possess, use, or consume on school premises or at a school-sponsored activity a controlled substance as defined by G.S. 90-95, the Controlled Substances Act, without a prescription authorizing such use;

(B)          be under the influence of, possess, use, or consume an alcoholic beverage or a controlled substance on school premises or at a school-sponsored activity involving students; or

(C)          furnish alcohol or a controlled substance to any student except as indicated in the professional duties of administering legally prescribed medications.

(10)         Compliance with criminal laws.  The educator shall not commit any act referred to in G.S. 115C-332 and any felony under the laws of the United States or of any state.

(11)         Public funds and property.  The educator shall not misuse public funds or property, funds of a school-related organization, or colleague's funds. The educator shall account for funds collected from students, colleagues, or parents/legal guardians. The educator shall not submit fraudulent requests for reimbursement, expenses, or pay.

(12)         Scope of professional practice.  The educator shall not perform any act as an employee in a position for which licensure is required by the rules of the SBE or by G.S. 115C or the North Carolina General Statutes during any period in which the educator's license has been suspended or revoked.

(13)         Conduct related to ethical violations.  The educator shall not directly or indirectly use or threaten to use any official authority or influence in any manner that tends to discourage, restrain, interfere with, coerce, or discriminate against any subordinate or any licensee who in good faith reports, discloses, divulges, or otherwise brings to the attention of an LEA, the SBE, or any other public agency authorized to take remedial action, any facts or information relative to actual or suspected violation of any law regulating the duties of persons serving in the public school system, including but not limited to these Rules.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 115C-295.3;

Eff. May 1, 1998.