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State Board of Education is Expected to Vote on a Code of Ethics Policy for Governing Miss. Teachers

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 20 Jan 2011 08:28am | comments
Leaders of the Mississippi Department of Education presented a draft of the Educator Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct to the Board of Education yesterday

Mississippi school teachers could soon face tougher penalties for improper conduct with students. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports the State Board of Education is expected to vote today on an Educator Code of Ethics.

State Superintendent of Education, Tom Burnham says over the past few years, there have been at least 30 incidents where Mississippi school teachers have been indicted for improper relationships with students.

"Its recognized, they resign, and they go to another district and it occurs again. And so I felt very strongly and worked with the board to bring forward this piece of legislation to address the issue of people being able to leave one district and go to another and the same thing occur."

Mississippi remains the only southern state without a comprehensive set of standards for which educators could be held accountable for things like trustworthiness, use of alcohol or drugs, even their handling of public funds and money. But for Board Attorney Jim Keith the number one issue remains the relationship between an educator and student inside and outside the classroom.

"Very seldom do we have absolute proof that there's maybe say sexual activity going on but we have a lot of proof that there is inappropriate texting or face book socialization or things of that nature. So were trying to catch it at the early stages before it ever gets to sexual misconduct because at that point in time someone's going to jail."

Along with the code of ethics, there is also proposed legislation to amend Section 37-3-2. This would provide specific grounds for revoking or suspending a teacher or administrator's license for sexual misconduct . The bill already has the support of both the house and senate education chairmen as well as the trust of Mississippi Association of Educators President, Kevin Gilbert.

"We wanna look at this as a mechanism to protect out teachers who are out there doing what they are suppose to be doing and then provide a mechanism for us to remove those individuals who aren't upholding to their duty to our children."

If lawmakers approval the bill it would become law July 1st. Lawayne Childrey MPB News.

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Leaders of the Mississippi Department of Education presented a draft of the Educator Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct to the Board of Education yesterday


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