5253 Policy – Maintaining Professional Staff/Student Boundaries


The purpose of this policy is to provide all staff, students, volunteers and community members with information about their role in protecting children from inappropriate conduct by adults.  This policy applies to all district staff and volunteers.  For purposes of this policy and its procedure, the terms “district staff,” “staff member(s),” and “staff” also include volunteers.

General Standards

The district expects all district staff to maintain the highest professional standards when they interact with students.  District staff are required to maintain an atmosphere conducive to learning by consistently maintaining professional boundaries.

Professional staff/student boundaries are consistent with the legal and ethical duty of care that district employees have for students.

The interactions and relationships between district staff and students should be based upon mutual respect and trust, an understanding of the appropriate boundaries between adults and students in and outside of the educational setting, and consistency with the educational mission of the district.

District staff will not intrude on a student’s physical and emotional boundaries unless the intrusion is necessary to serve a demonstrated educational purpose.  An educational purpose is one that relates to the staff member’s duties in the district.  Additionally, staff members are expected to be aware of the appearance of impropriety in their own conduct and the conduct of other staff when interacting with students.  Staff members will notify and discuss issues with their building administrator or supervisor whenever they suspect or question whether their own or another staff member’s conduct is inappropriate or constitutes a violation of this policy.

The district recognizes that staff may have familial and pre-existing social relationships with parents or guardians and students.  Staff members should use appropriate professional judgment when they have a dual relationship to students to avoid violating this policy, the appearance of impropriety, and the appearance of favoritism.  Staff members shall pro-actively discuss these circumstances with their building administrator or supervisor.

Use of Technology

The district supports the use of technology to communicate for educational purposes.  However, district staff are prohibited from inappropriately communicating with students, including online, texting or electronic applications, or from engaging in any conduct on social networking websites that violates the law, district policies or procedures, or other generally recognized professional standards.


Staff whose conduct violates this policy may face discipline and/or termination consistent with the district’s policies and procedures, acceptable use agreement, and collective bargaining agreements, as applicable.

The superintendent/designee will develop protocols for reporting and investigating allegations and develop procedures and training to accompany this policy.


Approved By: Greg Baker
Adopted/Previous Revisions: 01/24/17
Updated: 01/24/17
Superintendent or Board Approved: Superintendent Approved
Legal References: Content

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
RCW 9A.44   Sex offenses
RCW 9A.88    Indecent Exposure – Prostitution
RCW 28A.400.320 Crimes against children — Mandatory termination of classified employees — Appeal — Recovery of salary or compensation by district
RCW 28A.405.470 Crimes against children — Mandatory termination of certificated employees — Appeal — Recovery of salary or compensation by district
RCW 28A.405.475 Termination of certificated employee based on guilty plea or conviction of certain felonies — Notice to superintendent of public instruction – Record of notices
RCW 28A.410.090 Revocation or suspension of certificate or permit to teach — Reprimand — Criminal basis — Complaints — Investigation — Process
RCW 28A.410.095 Violation or noncompliance — Investigatory powers of superintendent of public instruction — Requirements for investigation of alleged sexual misconduct towards a child — Court orders — Contempt — Written findings required
RCW 28A.410.100 Revocation of authority to teach — Hearings
RCW 28A.640  Sexual Equality
RCW 28A.642  Discrimination Prohibition
RCW 49.60   Discrimination – Human Rights Commission
WAC 181-87   Professional certification — Acts of unprofessional conduct
WAC 181-88   Definitions of sexual misconduct, verbal abuse and physical abuse  — Mandatory disclosure — Prohibited agreements

Management Resources: Content

2015 October Policy Issue