Ethics in Education

As a school that participates in Florida Department of Education School Choice Scholarship program, and pursuant to the requirements set forth in the 2008 Ethics in Education Act, please be advised that Sacred Heart Cathedral School operates under the following guidelines and laws.

Ethics in Education Act 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 the McKay, FES, Gardiner and

Corporate Tax Credit 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. Private and charter schools are now required to comply with these policies.

Employment Screening

1. Participating private schools must disqualify from employment any instructional personnel or school administrator who is convicted of an act listed under Section 1012.315, Florida Statutes.

2. Participating private schools must conduct an employment history check before employing instructional personnel or school administrators in any position that requires direct contact with students.

3. Participating private schools must screen new instructional personnel or school administrators using the two employee screening tools developed by the Department of Education. New instructional personnel or school administrators are those individuals employed after the law became effective on July 1, 2008.

All Sacred Heart Cathedral School administrators, teachers, and staff members have been fully screened and background checked pursuant to state law.

Child Abuse Reporting and Employee Misconduct

1. Participating private schools must prohibit confidentiality agreements with instructional personnel or school administrators who are dismissed, terminated, or resign in lieu of termination due to misconduct that affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student.

2. Participating private schools must post a notice at the school stating that all employees have a duty to report actual or suspected cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect.

3. Participating private schools must post at the school site and on the school’s website (if applicable) the policies and procedures for reporting misconduct by instructional personnel or school administrators, which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student.

4. 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.

All Sacred Heart Cathedral School employees have been trained to recognize signs of child abuse, abandonment, and neglect, and have been advised as to their status as mandatory reporters. All employees have a duty to report all actual or suspected cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect.

Call 1-800-96-ABUSE or report online at: www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/report/.

Report any instance or suspected instance of employee misconduct to our principal, Mrs. Elizabeth Snow.

Reports of misconduct committed by administrators should be made to our superintendent, Michael Juhas.

Liability Protections

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)

An employer who discloses information about a former or current employee upon request of a prospective employer or upon request of the former or current employee is immune from civil liability for such disclosure or its consequences unless it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that the information disclosed by the former or current employer was knowingly false or violated any civil right of the former or current employee protected under F.S. Chapter 760. (F.S. 768.095)