Relationship between Faculty and Staff and Students
In the spirit of Ignatian cura personalis, Xavier College Preparatory High School desires for its teachers to develop meaningful relationships with their students. Nevertheless, appropriate professional boundaries should not be compromised. A basic adherence to the principles of Christian charity should govern all relationships between faculty and staff members and students.
The relationships developed between teachers and students are a hallmark of a student's Xavier experience. Caring relationships with students, while encouraged, are also challenging in our society. Teachers must always be cognizant of their role as teachers and authority figures. Teachers and coaches should avoid foul language and maintain professional boundaries. Teachers should avoid situations where they are alone with students, and teachers should abide by the principles of the Diocesan Safe Environment Policy regarding appropriate boundaries and communication. In order to carry out the mission of Xavier College Preparatory High School while at the same time ensuring appropriate boundaries with Students, the following are prohibited behaviors for all employees:
- Harassment of students;
- Inappropriate physical contact;
- Using, possessing or being under the influence of illegal drugs when in the presence of, and/or while supervising minors;
- Providing or allowing minors to use alcohol or illegal drugs;
- Routine use of profanity in the presence of minors;
- Speaking to minors in a way that is or could be reasonably construed by an observer as harsh, physically threatening, intimidating, shaming, derogatory, demeaning, or humiliating;
- Discussing sexual activities with a minor;
- Engaging in any sexually-oriented conversation with minors unless the conversations are part of a legitimate lesson and discussion regarding human sexuality;
- Sharing with, or showing to minors, sexually inappropriate material; or
- Any behavior or action that falls within the legal definition of child abuse.
Xavier College Preparatory abides by the State of California’s Mandatory Reporting Law and the Safe Environment Policy of the Diocese of San Bernardino. As such, all employees are legally and contractually obligated to report all cases of suspected abuse and/or neglect to Child Protective Services. When you know or suspect that a minor has been the victim of abuse, you should contact either the Principal, the Dean of Students or the Director of Counseling as soon as possible.
Technology often bridges both the work and personal life of faculty and staff, and thus, some cross-over and conflict of responsibilities may occur. The school’s interest is in defining the educational and work-related contexts of social media, for the protection of our faculty, staff, students, and the school community as a whole. Throughout this policy, employees of Xavier College Preparatory may be referred to as teachers, staff, or employees. In the context of this policy, each of these terms refers to anyone employed by Xavier College Preparatory.
Social media and communications technologies include, but are not limited to:
- Social Networking (Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
- Video and Photo Sharing (YouTube, SlideShare, Flickr)
- Blog, Wiki, Micro-Blog, Podcasting
- Instant Messaging
- Texting and other Smartphone Use
- Web Conferencing (Skype, FaceTime)
In essence, an employee’s conduct while using social media and communications technologies to interact online with colleagues, students, parents, and alumni should be no different than interacting with these individuals or groups offline, or face-to-face. Therefore, we are required to maintain the principles of respect, dignity, prudence, and professionalism and concern for the safety and protection of Xavier’s students in all interactions.
Xavier respects the right of employees to use social media and networking sites, as well as personal websites and blogs, but it is important that employees’ personal use of these sites does not do harm to Xavier’s reputation, its employees, or its students or their families. Employees should exercise care in setting appropriate boundaries between their personal and public online behavior. Xavier strongly encourages all employees to review the privacy settings on any social media and networking sites they use carefully and to exercise care and good judgment when posting content and information on such sites.
Xavier employees understand that they are accountable for their postings and other electronic communications that are job-related -- particularly online activities conducted with a school-issued e-mail address, or while using school property, networks, or resources, or while discussing school-related activities.
Adult behavior is used as a model by our students; social media activities may be visible to current, past, or prospective students, parents, colleagues, and community members; serving as a role model is a critical aspect of their work at the school; and thus they must exercise discretion when using social networks (even for personal communications) when those communications can reflect on their role at the school. Faculty and staff should keep in mind that the uneven power dynamics of the school—in which adults have implied authority over current and former students—continue to shape those relationships after the end of the school day and year, and even after graduation.
Employees must act in a manner that always respects and never exploits the power inherent in these relationships. Employees will balance their right of individual expression with the valid interests of the school in promoting and presenting its mission, culture, and values to the community at large as reflected by the public actions and statements of its employees. Please be aware that the school considers discretion and prudent judgment in social networking activities to be a serious matter with regard to protecting the school, its students, and employees. As such, violation of this policy may lead to corrective action, up to and including termination of employment. Employees will exercise care with personal profile data and posted content to ensure that this information does not reflect poorly on your ability to serve as a role model or otherwise create a conflict of interest. Content should be placed thoughtfully and periodically reviewed. An employee should not make statements that would violate any of Xavier’s policies, including its policies concerning discrimination or harassment; the employee must uphold Xavier’s value of respect for the individual and avoid making defamatory statements about Xavier, its employees, its students, or their families; employees may not disclose any confidential information of Xavier or confidential information obtained during the course of their employment, about any individuals or organizations, including students and/or their families. Teachers should also report any student posting that compromises the reputation of Xavier. If teachers see any student exhibiting destructive or inappropriate behavior through the use of social media technology, they should contact the counseling department or administration immediately regarding the matter.
Faculty and staff are not permitted to initiate or accept social media relationship requests (also known as “friend” or “contact” requests) with current students. Certain employees may need to maintain social media relationships with students as a function of their job in order to communicate with and monitor students. There are ways to engage students publicly and collectively using social media that are appropriate and endorsed by the school and should you feel it necessary to use this technology to engage your students please consult the appropriate administrator for guidance. In general, however, teachers and staff are not permitted to accept or initiate social media relationship requests from current students. Students should never be “forced” to interact, or gain undue academic or other advantages from interacting with an employee on a social network that is not explicitly maintained and supervised by Xavier. Employees must use professional discretion when “friending” alumni. Please recognize that many former students have online connections with current students (including younger siblings and underclassmen friends) and parents and that information shared between recent alumni is likely to be seen by current students and their parents as well. When initiating or accepting social media relationship requests from parents of current or former students, employees should maintain the same level of professional conduct online as they would while engaged in offline communications with parents.
Class blogs, wikis, podcasts or other electronic tools are to be monitored by the employee sponsoring the activity for proper online etiquette including, but not limited to, appropriate language and image use, adherence to academic purpose and US copyright laws, and the absence of bullying. It is recommended that parent notification be given regarding student use of technology tools if postings of student-created content or likenesses will be publicly available or if students will be given school-required access to an online communication tool that could be used for non-academic purposes. Any online media should be easy to review by the school’s administration or other staff members. Care should be taken to make sure that students will not become subject to hurtful comments (i.e. “trolling”) and/or inappropriate solicitations from strangers.
Faculty should not use cell phone technology (phone, texting, instant messaging, FaceTime, Skype, etc.) for personal and/or private communication with students. There are certain circumstances, such as when faculty are traveling with students, in which texting or cell phone use may be appropriate for the sake of the safety of students and the orderly management of the activity. Parents and the appropriate administrator should be made aware of how the staff member may be communicating via cell phone with students during such instances. Outside of those stated circumstances, faculty should avoid private cell phone communication with students, either via text or voice. Should students initiate contact with staff members outside of those stated circumstances, staff members should ask students to communicate with them via Xavier email or school phones in the future.