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Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators

Instructor: Fola Rae
Educators in Georgia follow a code of ethics that outlines how they must treat students and colleagues as well as standards for personal conduct. Read on to learn more about the standards, reporting unethical conduct, and how your teaching certificate can be affected by misconduct. You'll also find useful resources for teacher development.

Georgia Educator Ethics

Guidelines for ethical conduct are issued by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. The standards are designed to protect educators and students by ensuring that educators who violate the code are reported or punished by the appropriate authority, if necessary. Reports of violations are investigated, and an educator may have to attend a hearing for misconduct. The code includes the following standards:

  • Complying With the Law - Educators have to be careful not to commit any crimes and have to follow local, state and federal laws. This means that educators have to be careful not to be convicted of felonies, sexual offenses, drug offenses, or crimes involving dishonesty or poor morals, among others.
  • Interacting With Students - It is important for educators to be careful about their interactions with students when they are in the classroom as well as when they are away from the classroom. Some examples of misconduct include offering students alcohol or illegal drugs or engaging in sexual acts with students.
  • Use of Drugs or Alcohol - It is unethical for educators to take alcohol or drugs while they are working. Educators are working while they are in the school building, on the school grounds, and when they are attending school related activities. These are activities sponsored by the school system or the school, like parent-teacher organizations or booster clubs.
  • Integrity and Honesty - Educators are supposed to be as honest and upstanding as possible while employed. This can apply to any number of situations where they have to include information about themselves or others in written documents. Some examples include evaluating students, reporting their reasons for absences, or completing a document with their criminal history.
  • Handling Public Property and Funds - If an educator is trusted with access to school property or funds, they have to be responsible in their use and management of them. Using school property without getting authorization is an example of an educator not acting in an ethical manner. Educators must also be careful not to mismanage school money or money taken from parents or students.
  • Accepting Compensation - It is required for educators to act with integrity when it comes to receiving payment for work or school related services. For example, an educator is not supposed to accept money for tutoring students unless the board of education approves it. Among other things, educators are also not supposed to accept gifts from vendors that work with the school or any vendors interested in working with the school.
  • Keeping Information Confidential - Information given to educators has to be kept confidential, or it is considered a violation of their ethical obligation to do so. This includes situations where educators are not supposed to disclose information in student records about academic performance or family income, for example. Educators are also not allowed to copy standardized tests or discuss or teach classes about information included on standardized tests.
  • Abandoning the Contract - The local board of education and education agencies enter into contracts with educators for the performance of professional services. It is considered unethical for educators to abandon their contracts without being released from the contract by their employer. If educators refuse to provide the services required of them in the contract, it is also considered an ethical violation.
  • Reporting Requirements - Educators are required to report violations of the ethics standards within ninety days of finding out about them. For example, educators are required to provide all of the requested information on applications for educator certificates and will be considered in violation of this ethical standard if they do not.
  • Professional Behavior - Educators should conduct themselves in a professional manner to be a good reflection of those in the teaching profession. Ethical violations of this standard include behaving in ways that could negatively affect the morals or welfare of students.
  • Administering Tests - Assessments are required by the state, and educators are asked to administer the tests to students by following rules to ensure that the testing is fair.

Additional information about each standard is available on the website for the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (www.gapsc.com).

Discipline for Ethical Misconduct

Educators can have their teaching certificates revoked or denied by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for conduct that is in violation of the ethical standards. Reprimands or warnings are also issued, and it is sometimes necessary for educators to be monitored. Educators have been disciplined for things like non-payment of child support and because other professional licenses have been revoked or suspended. During a period where a certificate is suspended or revoked, educators are not allowed to work as any of the following:

  • Educator
  • Volunteer
  • Paraprofessional
  • Aide
  • Substitute teacher

Ethics Resources

Study.com offers an interesting and engaging course as well as some lessons on ethics that can assist you in your professional endeavors and development as an educator. These resources cover topics like business ethics, ethics and technology, ethical standards, and teaching ethics, and you'll find video lessons, quizzes, and exams that you can use to measure your understanding of the concepts you'll encounter. Take a look at these resources below to get started:

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