AB 500 Requirement

Assembly Bill 500 (AB 500) adds section 44050 to the California Education Code and requires schools to provide on the school’s website sections of their employee handbook that relate to interactions between employees and students. The following sections are excerpted from New Roads Employment Handbook :

New Roads employees are required to maintain professional relationships with students whether on campus or away from campus, and to carry themselves in a manner that is consistent with the school’s mission, as defined in this Handbook.  While employees are encouraged to develop positive, friendly, and supportive relationships with students, there is an innate power imbalance in the relationship between an employee and student, which must not be abused. 

Some activities may seem innocent from an employee’s perspective, but may be perceived as flirtatious, sexually suggestive, or otherwise inappropriate, from a student’s or parent’s perspective. In maintaining professional boundaries, employees must consider how their actions and words may be perceived by others, and must take care to avoid intimidation, abuse of authority, excessive attention, and any other conduct that is not an appropriate employee/student interaction or could be perceived as such.

Below are rules employees must follow. These rules are not an exhaustive list of prohibited employee conduct, but rather a general framework for describing inappropriate and appropriate employee-student interaction.  Conduct not enumerated in this list may nonetheless violate this Policy.  If you have any doubts as to whether certain conduct is prohibited, do not engage in the conduct until you have consulted with the Head of School or your immediate supervisor.

Appropriate and Inappropriate Interactions, Generally:
In general, any interaction with a student should be something an employee would feel comfortable saying or doing in front of that student’s parents and the Head of School.
  • Employees must avoid creating excessive emotional attachments beyond the healthy employee/student relationship and must not lean on students for emotional support.
  • Employees must use sound judgment as to how much information they share with students about their own personal life and must refrain from asking students overly personal information. 
  • Employees must avoid sharing information about romantic, sexual, personal problems or other types of private or sensitive information or other information that is inappropriate to share.
  • Employees must consult their supervisor promptly if a student is or seems to be pushing their or another employee’s personal boundaries, or attempting to establish an inappropriate relationship.
Favoritism or Special Treatment
Employees are expected to be cautious at all times to avoid any special treatment, favoritism, or excessive attention towards particular students.
  • Employees may not buy or give personal gifts to individual students.
  • Employees are not permitted to seek or engage in flirtatious, sexual or romantic relationships with former students who have graduated within the last 3 years.
  • Employee communications with students (e.g., notes, email, texts or other electronic exchanges, or phone calls) must be for school related reasons only and must be professional in all respects. 
  • Examples of employee conduct that may violate this policy, depending on the circumstances, include communication with students during late hours or on non-school days, communication about inappropriate personal or non-school related subjects or communication using personal, rather than school technology, absent prior approval of the parent(s) and New Roads. 
  • New Roads needs to be able to monitor employee communications with students at all times. Therefore, in limited situations where an employee may have a need to communicate with students using personal technology, such as during field trips, the communication must copy another employee.
  • If an employee receives an email from a student that is inappropriate or may be construed as inappropriate, the employee should not respond to the email and must make and keep a copy of any such inappropriate communication and notify the Head of School immediately. 
  • Employees are prohibited from making jokes, using slang, or suggestive comments or innuendo of a sexual or discriminatory nature in communicating with students (or at any other time at work).
Meetings with Students
  • When meeting with a student one-on-one, employees must balance potential privacy concerns with appropriate professionalism and should avoid meeting in locations that are closed off or not visible or accessible to others. The door/window of classrooms should always remain uncovered. If alone with a student in a room, unless confidentiality is a concern, you should leave the door open or have another adult present in a meeting with a single student.
  • When driving students, always drop the last two students off at the same location, and insist that one parent pick up the last child. Except in an emergency, do not drive a student alone.
  • If it becomes necessary to drive alone with a student, such as for the student’s safety, consider having the student sit in the back seat and, before driving, call the student’s parent or another adult on a speaker phone with the request that the individual remain on the line until the child is released to her parent or an authorized adult.
  • Employees are prohibited from meeting with students off campus unless it is a pre-approved school activity with other individuals present or if employees are meeting with students to plan school events or gatherings, the employee must first obtain the permission of New Roads administration and the student’s parent or guardian.
Physical Contact
  • In general, employees must respect students’ personal space at all times. Employees should generally maintain an appropriate physical distance when interacting with students.
  • Any physical contact with a student should be limited. Examples of acceptable physical contact may include giving a student a high five or a handshake. A brief hug may be acceptable in limited situations, such as graduation, or to provide comfort to a distressed younger elementary school student. 
  • Some examples of physical contact that is inappropriate in most, if not all circumstances, include, but are not limited to, the following: employees putting their arm around a student; touching a student’s shoulder, arm, back or leg, giving massages, playing with a student’s hair, or kissing of any kind (including blowing a kiss).
Drugs and Alcohol
  • Employees may not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs or consume alcohol or drugs at any New Roads-sponsored activities where students are present.
  • Employees are prohibited from discussing any personal alcohol or drug use, whether past or current, with students.
Employees have an obligation to model, through both language and behavior, the values and expectations of New Roads, and to strictly comply with this policy. Disagreeing with the wording or intent of this policy does not alleviate employees from strictly complying with this policy and will be considered irrelevant for disciplinary purposes. If an employee finds him or herself in a difficult situation related to boundaries or has questions related to these protocols and requirements, they should consult the Associate Head of School or Human Resources. If any employee becomes aware of another employee failing to adhere to this policy, the employee must immediately report the matter to the Head of School, the Associate Head of School or HR. New Roads has the right to investigate compliance with this policy even if no report has been made.

Neither faculty nor staff may tutor any current New Roads student at any time for money or any form of compensation. If you are approached, please refer the matter to your campus director.

In addition to competency in the fundamentals of teaching, subject-matter mastery, and a commitment to the discipline being taught, New Roads needs and expects each of its faculty members to develop and maintain an affirmative, caring, and supportive relationship with each student. While New Roads both seeks and encourages a diversity of styles and techniques used in the classroom, it is central to the mission of the school and its stated philosophy that the tone of every classroom or teaching setting is affirmative and supportive of the individual learner. New Roads needs and expects that all teachers will:
  • Know each student as an individual.
  • Recognize and support individual differences.
  • Be sensitive and respectful of multi-ethnic and multi-cultural differences.
  • Acknowledge progress with affirmation and support.
  • Hold students to high academic and behavioral expectations inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Maintain a climate and culture inside and outside of the classroom that promotes optimal, generative learning
  • Promote and encourage student contact beyond the classroom.
  • Convey enthusiasm to students.
  • Handle student discipline and setting limits in a firm, kind, and thoughtful way.
  • Treat students with patience and understanding.
  • Never use harsh humor, humiliation, or belittling for any purpose.
  • Faculty must respond to emails or telephone messages from parents within 24 hours; responses to parents or guardians questions and concerns must be addressed thoughtfully and respectfully.
New Roads believes that incorporating these approaches in the instructional settings will help produce a respectful climate for students that fosters successful learning. Additionally, it is absolutely necessary that teachers make clear their expectations of students for reciprocal behavior.

The New Roads faculty strives to set for its students an example of high ethical standards, moral behavior, and devotion to excellence. This responsibility involves the following obligations:
  • Maintaining a climate of trust and mutual respect that encourages students to risk the questions, the opinions, and the mistakes essential to the learning process.
  • Offering students clear educational objectives for each course, supported by appropriate assignments, activities, and a sufficient number of formal assessments on which students receive constructive, clear, concrete and descriptive feedback to support the learning process.
  • Accurately assessing students’ progress, and immediately informing students, parents, and the appropriate administrator if a student is encountering significant difficulty.
  • Showing concern for and nurturing students’ emotional, ethical, aesthetic, and spiritual development.
  • Modeling with students the positive personal and community relationships we hope to see from students.