Westonwood Ranch Standards of Ethical Conduct

  1. Our school 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, to teach, and the guarantee of equal opportunity for all.

  2. Our primary concern is the student and the development of the student’s potential.  Employees will therefore strive for professional growth and will seek to exercise the best professional judgment and integrity.

  3. Concern for the student requires that instructional personnel:

    1. Shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning and/or to the student’s mental and/or physical health and/or safety.

    2. Shall not unreasonably restrain a student from independent action in pursuit of learning.

    3. Shall not unreasonably deny a student access to diverse points of view.

    4. Shall not intentionally suppress or distort subject matter relevant to a student’s academic or vocational program.

    5. Shall not intentionally expose a student to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement.

    6. Shall not intentionally violate or deny a student’s legal rights.

    7. Shall not harass or discriminate against any student on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, martial status, handicapping condition, sexual orientation, or social and family background and shall make reasonable effort to assure that each student is protected from harassment or discrimination.

    8. Shall not exploit a relationship with a student for personal gain or advantage.

    9. Shall keep in confidence personally identifiable information obtained in the course of professional service, unless disclosure serves professional purposes or is required by law.

  4. Aware of the importance of maintaining the respect and confidence of colleagues, of students, of parents, and of the community, employees of our school must display the highest degree of ethical conduct.  This commitment requires that our employees:

    1. Shall maintain honesty in all professional dealings.

    2. Shall not on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, marital status, handicapping condition if otherwise qualified, or social and family background deny to a colleague professional benefits or advantages or participation in any professional organization.

    3. Shall not interfere with a colleague’s exercise of political or civil rights and responsibilities.

    4. Shall not engage in harassment or discriminatory conduct which unreasonably interferes with an individual’s performance of professional or work responsibilities or with the orderly processes of education or which creates a hostile, intimidating, abusive, offensive, or oppressive environment; and, further, shall make reasonable effort to assure that each individual is protected from such harassment or discrimination.

    5. Shall not make malicious or intentionally false statements about a colleague.

 

Training Requirement

All instructional personnel and administrators are required as a condition of employment to complete training on these standards of ethical conduct.

 

Reporting Misconduct by Instructional Personnel and Administrators

All employees and administrators have an obligation to report misconduct by instructional personnel and school administrators which effect the health, safety, or welfare of a student. Examples of misconduct include, but are not limited to, 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 reporting employee’s direct supervisor or the direct supervisor of the employee committing misconduct.

 

Reports of misconduct committed by administrators should be made to the President of the Board of Directors of Westonwood Ranch.

 

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 administration office.

 

Reporting and Dealing with Unsafe Conditions or Practices

Our students are our main priority. Inasmuch, please be on the lookout for unsafe working conditions or practices. If staff observes an unsafe condition, warn others, and if possible, report that condition to the supervisor immediately. If as staff member has a question regarding the safety of their workplace and practices, ask the direct supervisor for clarification.

 

Reporting Child Abuse

Westonwood Ranch staff members are mandated child abuse reporters.  Florida Statutes Chapter 39 states that any person who has knowledge or reasonable cause to suspect that a child is being abused or neglected must report that information to the Florida Abuse Hotline (1-800-96-ABUSE) or at http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/report/.  By law, failure to report suspicions of child maltreatment is a first-degree misdemeanor, as is interfering with or preventing another person from making a report.  

 

The state of Florida recognizes five types of child maltreatment:

  • Neglect - chronic failure of a caretaker to provide basic needs

  • Physical - non-accidental injury of a child at the hands of their caregiver

  • Sexual Abuse - sexual exploitation of a child by an older and/or more powerful person that may or may not involve physical contact

  • Emotional Abuse - Pattern of behavior that attacks a child's emotional and psychological development

  • Abandonment - Willful rejection of parental obligation to a child

 

Westonwood Ranch Board of Directors takes false reporting very seriously and will take all legal measures necessary to prevent false accusations.  According to the Florida Dept. of Children and Families, knowingly making a false report is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. In addition, the Florida Dept. of Children and Families may impose an additional fine of up to $10,000 for each violation. A false report is one that is made to the central abuse hotline or website which is not true and is maliciously made for the purpose of:

  • harassing, embarrassing, or harming another person

  • personal financial gain for the reporting person

  • acquiring custody

  • any personal benefit for the reporting person

 

At student drop off if a staff member sees any obvious bumps, bruises, cuts or scrapes, go ahead and openly ask the caregiver or student what happened to cause the injury.  Please write their feedback in the instructor log.

 

Most public areas at Westonwood Ranch are always under surveillance for the safety of both our clients and our staff.  Our staff does a great deal of life skills training at Westonwood Ranch which may require the need to take children to the restroom areas to teach specific life skills.  Staff is to protect themselves and the student during these times by having another staff member present, leaving the bathroom door open, and getting back into the hallway and onto the cameras as quickly as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liability Protections

Any person, official, or institution participating in good faith in any 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 to a prospective employer of the former or current employee upon request of the prospective employer or 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)