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Tips To Protect Your Teaching Certificate

You should endeavor to go into the classroom every day prepared to make the right decisions.

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.

UEA Best PracticesTip

NEVER accept friend requests from students on social media sites. There is a lot more risk than reward.

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inClass News

inClass News

inClass News is the weekly newsletter of United Educators Association. If you have ideas or requests for content that you would like to see, please email webmaster@ueatexas.com.
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