Our Legal department have compiled a few tips to protect yourself and to protect your teaching certificate:

  • If you confiscate a phone from a student, do not search through it.
  • If you confiscate a phone and suspect that a student is sexting, do not search through it, but turn over the phone to an administrator immediately.
  • Under NO circumstances should you upload, download, or transfer any pictures from a student’s phone to any other device, including USBs, printers, tablets, etc, whether district-owned or personal.
  • Possession of child pornography is a 2nd degree felony.
  • You have an affirmative duty to report within 48 hours if you know or suspect sexual abuse is occurring or will occur.
  • Anything you bring on campus, including your purse, laptop, etc may be subject to a search.
  • Searches by drug dogs in public places, such as parking lots, are legal under both the U.S. and Texas Constitutions.
  • If a dog “alerts” to a car or desk, it provides a police officer with reasonable suspicion to conduct an actual search.
  • Non-investigatory, work-related purpose searches and searches in investigations of work-related misconduct are generally constitutional.
  • Carrying a firearm or other weapon within 300 feet of a school where an official school function is taking place, including a UIL event, is a felony offense. This includes any concealed handgun for which you are licensed to carry.
  • If you need to take your prescribed medication to work with you, make sure it is kept in a locked cabinet or in the nurse’s office.
  • Always keep medication in its pharmacy bottle so there is no question that it was prescribed to you personally.
  • Don’t park in the student lot. Drug dogs are lead through these lots frequently.
  • It is a felony offense to take a controlled drug from a co-worker, even if you have the same prescription.
  • If you have consumed alcohol within the last 8-12 hours, you should consider a sick day.
  • This prohibition applies even if there are no students at school. Do not celebrate early on holidays and the last day of school.
  • If you like to gift alcohol, make other arrangements. Giving it at school is not a safe option.
  • Make sure to read your district’s computer usage policy.
  • You may be allowed to use a district computer for personal use, but be careful!
  • Emails may be subject to an Open Records request, even if they are not school-related.
  • Never loan your district computer to anyone.
  • Change your password frequently.
  • Do not give your password to anyone.
  • Always log off your computer when not in active use.
  • Remember that even if you delete something, it may still be on the computer.
  • If it has one, read your district’s social media policy. Read it again.
  • Make sure to check your privacy settings on all of your personal social media pages. Your default privacy settings should be set to “Friends.”
  • Don’t friend students or their parents unless you have a page specifically for them. EVER
  • Ask your friends not to “tag” you in photos.
  • Google yourself. If it’s out there, a student will find it.
  • Don’t post photos of students online.
  • Do not post any comment online that might make it possible to identify a student.
  • Do not post comments about a student’s health, whether positive or negative.
  • Do not gripe online about students, parents, colleagues, supervisors or the district.
NEVER accept friend requests from students on social media sites. There is a lot more risk than reward.