Policy 6180


The Board requires that all District employees maintain a professional, ethical relationship with District students that is conducive to an effective, safe learning environment, and that staff members act as role models for students at all times, whether on or off school property and both during and outside of school hours. Staff must establish appropriate personal boundaries with students and not engage in any behavior that could reasonably lead to even the appearance of impropriety.

This Policy applies to all employees, Board of Education members, applicants for employment, interns, whether paid or unpaid, contractors, vendors, subcontractors, consultants, volunteers, parents, and persons conducting business with the District, whether on or off District-owned or leased premises. For purposes of this Policy, the terms “employee(s)” and “staff” refer to this collective group.

Staff members are prohibited, under any circumstances, to date or engage in any improper fraternization or undue familiarity with students, regardless of the student's age or express or implied consent to this conduct. Further, employees will not entertain or socialize with students in a manner so as to create the perception that a dating relationship exists. Similarly, any action or comment by a staff member which invites romantic or sexual involvement with a student is considered highly unethical, in violation of District policy, and may result in the notification of law enforcement officials and the filing of criminal charges and/or disciplinary action by the District.

Inappropriate employee behavior includes, but is not limited to, flirting; making suggestive comments; dating; requests for sexual activity; physical displays of affection; giving inappropriate personal gifts; frequent personal communication with a student unrelated to course work or official school matters; providing alcohol or drugs to students; inappropriate touching; and engaging in sexual contact and/or sexual relations. Frequent personal communication with a student unrelated to course work or official school matters means any form in which personal communication may occur including, but not limited to, voice or text-based communication via phone, email, instant messaging, text messaging, or through social networking platforms.

Inappropriate fraternization of staff with students, even if the student participated willingly in the activity (regardless of the student's age), is against District policy and may be in violation of professional standards of conduct and New York State Law. However, inappropriate employee conduct does not need to rise to the level of criminal activity for the conduct to be in violation of District rules and subject to appropriate disciplinary sanctions.

Any student who believes that he or she has been subjected to inappropriate staff behavior as described in this policy, as well as students, school employees, or third parties who have knowledge of or witness any possible occurrence of inappropriate staff-student relations, must report the incident to any staff member or the employee's supervisor, the student's principal, or the District's designated Compliance Officer. In all circumstances, these reports will be forwarded to the designated Compliance Officer for further investigation. Anonymous complaints of inappropriate fraternization of staff members with students will also be investigated by the District. Investigations of allegations of 

inappropriate staff-student relations will follow the procedures utilized for complaints of harassment within the District. Allegations of inappropriate staff-student behavior will be promptly investigated and will be treated as confidential and private to the extent possible within legal constraints. If there is a finding upon completion of the investigation that inappropriate conduct occurred, District administration will take prompt corrective action.

Any employee having knowledge of or reasonable suspicion that another employee may have engaged in inappropriate conduct with a student that may constitute child abuse in an educational setting must also follow the District's reporting procedures for these allegations. This information will also be reported by the designated administrator as required by state law to law enforcement officials, the State Education Department (SED), and/or Child Protective Services as may be applicable.

If a student initiates inappropriate behavior toward a staff member, that employee will document the incident and report it to his or her building principal or supervisor immediately, or as soon as is practicable.

Prohibition of Retaliatory Behavior (Commonly Known as "Whistle-Blower" Protection)

The Board prohibits any retaliatory behavior directed against complainants, victims, witnesses, and/or any other individuals who participate in the investigation of allegations of inappropriate staff-student relations. Follow-up inquiries and/or appropriate monitoring will be made to ensure that the alleged conduct has not resumed and that all those involved in the investigation have not suffered retaliation. Any act of retaliation is subject to appropriate disciplinary action by the District.

District Responsibility/Training

The principal of each school and/or program supervisor will be responsible for informing students, staff, and volunteers of the requirements of this policy, including the duty to report and the procedures established for investigation and resolution of complaints. Further, staff training will be provided to facilitate staff identification of possible behavior that may constitute inappropriate staff-student relationships. Students will be provided this training in an age-appropriate manner.

This policy (or a summary) will be disseminated as appropriate to staff, students, and parents. 

Disciplinary Sanctions

Any staff member who engages in inappropriate conduct with a student will be subject to appropriate disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment in accordance with legal guidelines, District policy, and any applicable collective bargaining agreement. A violation of this policy may also subject the employee to criminal and/or civil sanctions as well as disciplinary action by the SED.

Policy References:
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 USC § 1681 et seq.
Education Law Article 23-B
Social Services Law §§ 411-428
8 NYCRR Part 83

Adopted: 5/4/21

Policy 6180