- Are you saying that employees should be disciplined if they bypass the fence?
- How does a "Good Fence" policy protect teachers? Doesn't it just make their job harder?
Good fences do no good if the gate is left open.
Once school districts create "Good Fence" policies, and make it clear that all employees are obligated to abide by that policy, those boundaries must be carefully maintained.
- Let's imagine that a parent goes to pick up their student from school and finds that the child was alone with a teacher behind a closed door. They should be able to file a complaint with the administration. The administration, upon verification of the accusation, would issue a warning, and note the incident in the employees' record. If the "Good Fence" policy continues to be broken, regardless of fair warning by administrators, the employees' job should be terminated, and their record marked clearly with the reasons for their termination.
- Note: This does not mean that the employee will be charged with a crime. The goal is to keep employees from ever being in a situation where they could be charged with a crime, or where they could commit a crime. However, it does mean than any other school district who considers hiring that employee would have a clear understanding that this employee did not follow the "Good Fence" policy of their previous employer. That school district would then be responsible for the decision to hire that potential employee or not.
- These employee records would be visible to state licensing boards to use when considering a teacher's license renewal.
- These employee records would be visible to law enforcement officers should a charge ever be made concerning an educator.
- If a employee's record is clear, and has always been consistent in following the "Good Fence" policies, it would go a long way to testify of the character of the employee.
- If there is a pattern of discipline, due to multiple incidents of disregard for the district's policies, law enforcement officers may be led to look further into an employee's behavior.
The vast number of public teachers and administrators are amazing men and women. They love what they do, despite getting 20 minute lunches and very little preparation time. They are the people you see correcting tests at the physical therapist's office, or while watching their child's dance recital. They bend over backwards to help a child who struggles to make it to school, who doesn't understand a concept, or who just needs someone to believe in them.
I have seen teachers place bowls of apples or carrots on their desk every day because they know that one of their students is not getting enough to eat at home. I have watched a vice principal sit on the school steps late into the night because one of my choir students had no parent to watch their performance, and no one coming to pick them up. Every day, our children are positively affected by teachers who bring honor to the profession.
It is not fair to these wonderful teachers to have an air of suspicion constantly hanging over their heads. It is time to restore an atmosphere of trust in our educational system. And the only way to do that is to have a set of boundaries that are faithfully maintained, far away from the cliff of tragedy. By getting rid of employees who cannot or will not follow the "Good Fence" policies of a district, parents and students can be assured that employees at their child's school are trustworthy and are living lives of transparency.