OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska’s third-largest school district is considering implementing a policy aimed at preventing employees from getting too friendly with students.
The new policy would require all Millard Public Schools staff to “observe and maintain professional boundaries” with students, the Omaha World-Herald reported . District employees wouldn’t be allowed to text students, tell inappropriate jokes, give students gifts or be “overly touchy,” according to the policy proposal.
Staff would also be restricted from visiting a student’s home without parents present and any “grooming” behaviors intended to win a student’s affection.
The proposal formalizes some practices already observed in the district, according to officials.
Millard School Board President Mike Pate said social media has made it easier to act inappropriately.
“It’s too easy today for that line to get crossed, and most of the time unintentionally,” he said. “This just helps to define what is appropriate and what’s not appropriate.”
The policy proposal also clarifies that an employee could face discipline for having a sexual relationship with a current or former student until a year after the student graduates.
The district has dismissed a counselor and an assistant principal over the past three years for allegations of improper contact with students.
The school board cancelled former assistant principal Matthew Fedde’s contract in February after he was charged with having sex with a 15-year-old student. Fedde is facing two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child.
Nebraska education officials reprimanded a Millard counselor in 2016 for allegations that she inappropriately interacted with a student. The former counselor is suing the district and alleging that she was forced out of her job because of her sexual orientation.
Pate said that no specific incident prompted the new policy.
A district spokeswoman said the school board is slated to vote on the policy July 2.
Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com
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