The following policy information from the Employee Handbook (EH) and Faculty Policies Supplement (FPS) of Crossroads School is being made available to comply with AB-500. Schools are required to publish policies relating to employee interactions with students.
THE AFFECTIVE DOMAIN (FPS P. 9)
In addition to competency in the fundamentals of teaching, subject-matter mastery, and a commitment to the discipline being taught, Crossroads School needs and expects each of its faculty members to develop and maintain an affirmative and supportive relationship with each student. While Crossroads both seeks and encourages a diversity of styles and techniques used in the classroom, it is central to the mission of the School and its stated philosophy that the "tone" of every classroom or teaching setting be affirmative and supportive of the individual learner. To that end, the School needs and expects that all teachers will incorporate the following into each of their classes:
- To know each student as an individual.
- To recognize and support individual differences.
- To be sensitive and respectful of multi-ethnic and multi-cultural differences.
- To acknowledge progress with affirmation and support.
- To promote and encourage student contact beyond the classroom (for example, by attending school events such as athletics or performing arts).
- To convey warmth, joy, and enthusiasm to students.
- To deal with student discipline and boundaries of appropriate behavior with respect, kindness, thoughtfulness and fairness.
- To treat students with patience and understanding.
- To refrain from the use of sarcasm, which is often misunderstood by students.
- To never intentionally humiliate, or belittle students for any purpose.
Crossroads School believes that through incorporating these approaches in instructional settings, the optimum tone for successful learning can be achieved. Additionally, it is absolutely appropriate that teachers make clear their expectations of students for reciprocal behavior, and that teachers actively work toward promoting these behaviors in ways appropriate to the student and grade level.
TEACHING EFFECTIVENESS (FPS P. 10)
A teacher's responsibilities include various activities in addition to teaching and classroom duties, such as serving as an Upper School advisor or club sponsor, giving extra help to students who need it, communicating suggestions and criticism directly to the administration, encouraging the efforts of colleagues. Important qualities and abilities include concern for the appearance of the classroom and of the grounds, promptness in meeting all school obligations (arrival in good time, meeting classes, returning papers), and flexibility and cooperation in furthering academic or extra-curricular programs. Attendance at school activities, such as athletic events, plays, and concerts is very strongly encouraged.
While successful teaching and instructional styles vary widely, among those characteristics of the effective teacher that can be identified and which Crossroads encourages are the following:
- Initiative, creativity, and imagination
- Flexibility and cooperation
- Reliability in handling school routines
- Rapport and communication with students, parents, and colleagues
- Care of classroom environment, facilities, and equipment
- Thoughtful evaluation of students
- Contribution to the School outside of the classroom
- Involvement in special school projects
- Professionalism and professional development
- Positive contribution to faculty and school morale
- Active involvement in curriculum development
- Enthusiasm for subject(s) taught
- Willingness to work cooperatively with supervisor(s)
FACULTY RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCEDURES (FPS P. 10)
Crossroads faculty members strive to set an example of high ethical standards, moral behavior, and devotion to excellence. This responsibility involves the following obligations:
- To maintain a climate of trust and mutual respect which encourages students to embrace the risk of asking questions, sharing opinions, and making mistakes - all necessary in an effective learning environment.
- To offer students clear educational objectives for each course supported by appropriate assignments, activities, and evaluation.
- To accurately assess the students' progress, and to inform both students and parents and the appropriate administrator immediately of serious difficulty.
- To show concern for and nurture students' emotional, ethical, aesthetic, and spiritual development.
FACULTY CONDUCT AND STUDENT SUPERVISION (FPS PP. 12-13)
It is fundamental to the identity and mission of Crossroads School that each member of the School community at all times treat each member of the School community with appropriate respect, kindness, consideration, and thoughtfulness. Actions which are prejudicial, inconsiderate, unkind, sexist, racist, homophobic, or which in any other way question or compromise the value or the dignity of the individual are contrary to the most basic values of the School and are categorically unacceptable at any time (see Section IV Employee Conduct in Personnel Handbook).
1. General Guidelines for Student Supervision
In a school with such a broad age range, the degree of supervision and the techniques employed to set and maintain an appropriate tone necessarily vary. A few broad guidelines follow. For a more specific approach see "ABC's of Discipline" below.
- Corporal punishment, sarcasm, humiliation, and group punishment are unacceptable means of control at Crossroads.
- Disciplinary efforts should strive for immediacy, consistency, and fairness.
- Any act which disturbs the atmosphere of learning, infringes upon the rights of others, or is unsafe or dangerous is an act which demands a disciplinary response.
- Students who are sent out of the room should be sent to the appropriate dean.
- When a student's misconduct is chronic or a teacher is unable to control a student, faculty and administration will meet to determine the origins and solutions to this misconduct.
- Faculty should not assign written work or extra course work as a disciplinary measure.
2. The ABC's of Discipline (From CAIS Conference, Winter 1980):
- Establish a minimum of rules and make sure they are understood.
- Be consistent and FOLLOW THROUGH.
- Determine the facts and circumstances of the problem before passing judgment.
- Try not to overreact (at times, easier said than done).
- Give the child an opportunity to explain his/her behavior, and consider influences which may affect his/her attitude.
- After the facts are determined, be decisive, and be firm in administering a reasonable course of action.
- Make the punishment, if necessary, a positive experience, which allows the child an opportunity to understand his/her mistake. Take time for counseling. Consult with the Director for assistance in difficult situations.
- Know when to "scold." A few choice words at the right moment are more effective than a lecture, poorly timed.
- In conflicts between students, calm must be restored before reason can prevail. Don't attempt to resolve the situation until the participants have "cooled off."
- Give every child a chance for a fresh start each day. Suspecting or anticipating trouble may actually cause it.
- If necessary, suggest to the Division Director that a conference be arranged with the parents. Often, the key to a child's behavior lies in the home. Cooperation with the parents is essential.
- Have confidence in yourself, and let that confidence reflect itself in your manner and tone of voice. A firm but quiet voice is more effective than one that is loud and critical.
- Show respect for the child.
- KEEP A SENSE OF HUMOR!
Faculty shall enforce all school rules and regulations, and maintain basic standards of courtesy, respect, honesty, and mutual consideration in their classrooms, on campus, and at school sponsored or related off-campus events.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY (EH PP. 30-33)
Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences is committed to providing an academic and work environment free of sexual harassment. This policy defines sexual harassment, and sets forth a procedure for the investigation and resolution of complaints of sexual harassment by or against any faculty member, staff member or student within the School.
Sexual harassment violates state and federal laws, as well as this policy, and will not be tolerated. It is also illegal to retaliate against any individual for filing a complaint of sexual harassment or for participating in a sexual harassment investigation; retaliation constitutes a violation of this policy.
This policy applies to all aspects of the academic environment, including but not limited to classroom conditions, grades, academic standing, employment opportunities, scholarships, recommendations, disciplinary actions and participation in any School activity. In addition, this Policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including but not limited to hiring, placement, promotion, disciplinary action, layoff, recall, transfer, leave of absence, training opportunities and compensation.
Faculty and staff members who violate this policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Students who violate this policy may be subject to disciplinary measures up to and including expulsion.
- Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to the conduct is made a term or condition of an individual’s employment, academic status or progress; or
- Submission to, or rejection of, the conduct by the individual is used as a basis of employment or academic decisions affecting the individual; or
- The conduct has the purpose or effect of having a negative impact upon the individual’s work or academic performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or educational environment; or
- Submission to, or rejection of, the conduct by the individual is used as the basis for any decision affecting the individual regarding benefits and services, honors, programs or activities available at or through the School.
This definition encompasses two kinds of sexual harassment:
- “Quid pro quo” sexual harassment occurs when a person in a position of authority makes educational or employment benefits conditional upon an individual’s willingness to engage in or tolerate unwanted sexual conduct.
- “Hostile environment” sexual harassment occurs when unwelcome conduct based on sex is sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to alter the conditions of an individual’s learning or work environment, unreasonably interfere with an individual’s academic or work performance, or create an intimidating, hostile, or abusive learning or work environment. The victim must subjectively perceive the environment as hostile, and the harassment must be such that a reasonable person of the same gender would perceive the environment as hostile.
Sexual harassment can consist of virtually any form or combination of verbal, physical, visual or environmental conduct. It need not be explicit nor even specifically directed at the victim. Sexually harassing conduct can occur between people of the same or different genders. The standard for determining whether conduct constitutes sexual harassment is whether a reasonable person of the same gender as the victim would perceive the conduct as harassment based on sex.
Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following misconduct:
- Verbal: Inappropriate or offensive remarks, slurs, jokes or innuendoes based on sex. This may include, but is not limited to, inappropriate comments regarding an individual’s body, physical appearance, attire, sexual prowess, marital status or sexual orientation; unwelcome flirting or propositions; demands for sexual favors; verbal abuse, threats or intimidation of a sexual nature; or sexist, patronizing or ridiculing statements that convey derogatory attitudes about a particular gender.
- Physical: Inappropriate or offensive touching, assault or physical interference with free movement. This may include, but is not limited to, kissing, patting, lingering or intimate touches, grabbing, pinching, leering, staring, unnecessarily brushing against or blocking another person, whistling or sexual gestures.
- Visual or Written: The display or circulation of offensive sexually oriented visual or written material. This may include, but is not limited to, posters, cartoons, drawings, graffiti, reading materials, computer graphics or electronic media transmissions.
- Environmental: An academic or work environment that is permeated with sexually oriented talk, innuendoes, insults or abuse not relevant to the subject matter of the class. A hostile environment can arise from an unwarranted focus on sexual topics or sexually suggestive statements in the classroom. An environment may be hostile if unwelcome sexual behavior is directed specifically at an individual or if the individual merely witnesses unlawful harassment in his or her immediate surroundings. The determination of whether an environment is hostile is based on the totality of the circumstances, including such factors as the frequency of the conduct, the severity of the conduct, whether the conduct is humiliating or physically threatening, and whether the conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s learning or work.
Romantic or sexual relationships between supervisors and subordinates are discouraged. (In addition, see anti-nepotism policy, Section III, A4.) Romantic or sexual relationships between faculty or staff members and students are absolutely prohibited and under certain circumstances may be considered a form of child abuse.
5. Prohibited Supervisory or Managerial Behavior
- No supervisor, manager, administrator or other authority figure may condition any employment, employee benefit, continued employment or educational benefit or opportunity on an applicant’s, employee’s or student’s acquiescence to any of the sexual behavior defined above.
- No supervisor, manager, administrator or other authority figure may retaliate against any applicant, employee or student because that person has opposed a practice prohibited by the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or has filed a complaint, testified, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing conducted by an authorized investigative agency.
- No person shall destroy evidence relevant to an investigation of sexual discrimination.
6. Behavior Prohibited By All Persons
- No supervisor, manager, administrator, student, or any other person shall create a hostile or offensive work environment for any other person by engaging in any sexual harassment or by tolerating it on the part of any employee or student.
- No supervisor, manager, administrator, student, or any other person shall assist any individual in any act that constitutes sexual discrimination against any employee or student of the School. All employees have the right to be free from unlawful harassment while in the employ of the School.
7. To Report a Claim
If you are harassed by a co-worker, supervisor, agent, vendor or customer you should promptly report the facts of the incident or incidents, and the names of the individuals involved, to the Assistant Head of School or the Human Resources Manager. The School will immediately and thoroughly investigate all claims of harassment in a fair and timely manner. Confidentially for all claims and investigations will be maintained to the greatest extent possible. All those persons with information on the matter will be interviewed.
8. School Response
The School’s determination and related School action will be communicated as appropriate to you, the alleged harasser and, to any others directly concerned. All claims of harassment will be taken seriously and the School will take prompt and effective remedial action, including actions to remedy an employee’s loss and those that will prevent further harassment. In addition, if you believe that you have been harassed you may, within one year of the harassment, file a complaint of harassment with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The address of the nearest office of the Fair Employment and Housing can be found on the posters located in the faculty lounge on each campus. The Department will serve as a neutral fact-finder and will attempt to help the parties voluntarily resolve the dispute. If the Department finds sufficient evidence of harassment and settlement efforts fail, the Department may file a formal accusation against the School and the harasser. The accusation will lead to either a public hearing before the Fair Employment and Housing Commission or a lawsuit filed on your behalf by the Department. If the Commission finds that harassment has occurred, it can order remedies, including fines or damages. In addition, the Commission may order reinstatement, back pay, and damages for the emotional distress, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and the cost of the suit.
Any adverse conduct taken because an applicant, employee, or contractor has reported harassment or discrimination, or has participated in the complaint and investigation process described herein, is prohibited. “Adverse conduct” includes: taking sides because an individual has reported harassment or discrimination, spreading rumors about a complaint, shunning and avoiding an individual who reports harassment or discrimination, or real or implied threats of intimidation to prevent an individual from reporting harassment or discrimination. The following individuals are protected from retaliation: those who make good faith reports of harassment or discrimination, and those who associate with an individual who is involved in reporting harassment or discrimination or who participates in the complaint or investigation process.
BOUNDARIES WITH STUDENTS (EH PP. 33-35)
Because Crossroads School by its very nature encourages close relationships between faculty and students, the boundaries between student and teacher can appear much “fuzzier” here than at most schools. As a result, we must all remind ourselves that boundaries do and must exist between Crossroads teachers and students.
The important thing to remember is that teachers are the adults in the relationships, and students, even at age 18, are the children. As obvious as that may seem, it is often forgotten because our students are very good at taking on an adult role. Indeed, our older students not only act like adults in their relationship with us, physically they even look like adults. Even our youngest students can and do take on adult-like roles. Because of this, it is very easy to forget that they are our students, and that they are legally “children” until they have reached the age of 18. Despite the mixed signals they may send us, our students really do expect us to keep those boundaries clear. They may flirt with us, they may joke with us, they may tease us, they may invite us out for coffee, but even in their most inappropriate behaviors our students do not for the most part expect us to treat them as peers. And in the rare case where a student might expect that type of a relationship, teachers are NEVER to respond in any way other than as the adult and as their teacher.
Many students at Crossroads are very outspoken and are not shy about asking their teachers questions that are often very personal in nature. The key point to remember is that although it is important for teachers to respond to students, what teachers respond to may not necessarily be the question that the student is asking. For example, a student who asks a teacher if she had sex before she was married probably does not really want to know whether or not the teacher did (and certainly does not want to know the details), but instead may be really asking what the teacher thinks about premarital sex. The important thing to remember is that when a student asks very personal and pointed questions, the best response is usually to find out what the student really wants to know. A teacher might respond by saying, “I wonder why you're asking me that question,” rather than answering the question directly. Faculty are expected to respond to students when they are approached for counsel, but again it is important to maintain the teacher/student relationship (which at this point often becomes the teacher counselor/student-in-need relationship) and not to respond to the student as a peer.
Some “personal” questions are more than appropriate for students to ask, and teachers are permitted to respond to them provided they themselves are comfortable answering. Questions such as, “Are you married?” or “What did you do this weekend?,” are fine to answer, provided the teacher does not give more information than necessary (and appropriate). At other times, such innocent questions can turn into those “teachable moments” because they can lead to appropriate discussions with students about particular issues. Therefore, faculty do not need to shy away from such teachable opportunities; however, they must be sure to respond to questions in age-appropriate ways, not to give out more information than necessary, and in some extreme cases, to inform their Division Director of the conversation if there is any concern that it might get back to parents in an awkward or potentially damaging way.
When teachers are asked personal questions, it is easy to be caught “off guard” and forget that it is a student asking the question and not an adult/peer. And in an effort to maintain that “affectionate” relationship with students, teachers sometimes respond inappropriately. It might be helpful for teachers to remember a few guidelines when they are put in these situations: a. Never discuss your own (or any other teacher’s) personal sexual behaviors. b. Never discuss your own (or any other teacher’s) drug and/or alcohol use. c. Never use profanity with students. d. Do not ignore a student’s question by turning him/her away, but do find out why the student is asking the question. e. If a student’s question makes you uncomfortable or is inappropriate, do tell the student that you are uncomfortable with the question being asked and feel that it is too personal a question for you to respond to a student. f. Do let the student’s dean or one of the counselors know any time you have been put in an awkward or uncomfortable situation by a student’s inappropriate question or remark.
By the same token, teachers should respect their students’ personal privacy and refrain from asking or commenting unnecessarily about a student’s parents or family circumstances. While occasional counseling situations may require that the teacher ask for pertinent information, it is crucial to bear in mind at all times that a student who may be looking for support from a teacher is not looking for a friend, and that it is probably not appropriate to comment on a student's parents or family circumstances.
On occasion, especially on the 21st Street Campus, students will test the boundaries of freedom of speech and expression. While we wish to encourage students to express themselves freely, we also want them to learn to do so responsibly. Faculty must understand that the School has three responsibilities in this area: to defend the integrity of the students’ right to take risks in their work without repercussions; to provide an environment that is safe for all members of the community, K–12; and to be respectful of the fact that we also are members of a broader community that stretches beyond the School. It is inevitable that on some occasions, the last two considerations will take precedence over the first.
Finally, in the ever-changing technology of our world, teachers are cautioned to be mindful of the “electronic boundaries” that also must exist between teacher and student. Employees may not invite current students of any age or former students under the age of 18 to join their personal social networking site (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat), and may not accept any student’s invitation to join theirs. Including students in such social networks sends the wrong message to students that the relationship is something other than one of teacher and student. Even sharing personal email addresses or cellphone numbers, or texting students, can be misinterpreted. When in doubt, check with your Division Director or a dean before entering into any electronic relationship with students.
MANDATED REPORTING OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT (EH P. 41)
California’s Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act requires certain professional and lay persons who work with children, or who have direct contact with them, to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect to the proper authorities. These “mandated reporters” have a legal responsibility to report suspected child abuse and neglect to help protect victims from further harm.