Sparhawk Academy faculty always maintains a respectful tone towards the students. This tone includes avoiding even the appearance of sexual inappropriateness in the faculty-student relationship. At the same time, the nature of our advisory program and of the overall faculty-student relationship, is such that as a school we encourage personal mentoring. This mentoring needs some degree of privacy to be able to exist. The open campus and the windows on all classroom and office doors provide opportunities for faculty to respect the privacy of the students while ensuring that the meetings and conversations happen in a manner open to the public eye.
The faculty not only allows for these meetings to take place, but they even encourage a mentoring relationship that transcends the classroom or the sports field. However, all faculty members follow certain prudential measures when arranging and proceeding with mentoring meetings of any type. One example of this is that faculty member would not give individual students a ride – they may take a group of them as on a field trip – unless there is a compelling need to do so and the faculty member is giving the student a ride in response to a parental request.
At the same time, there is no need for a faculty member to ever engage in social media interaction with the students. Although faculty may obviously have their own Facebook accounts (or whatever media platform a faculty member may belong to) and students may also have the same social media conduit, the faculty and the students’ social media worlds ought never to intersect. If a student emails a faculty member, he should copy a parent with the response so that the parent knows an online conversation is taking place. There is no need for a faculty member to initiate an email conversation with a student.
Any faculty member who in any way becomes aware of social and/or sexual impropriety between an employee of the school and a student, whether in official school activities or otherwise, or who has good reason to think there may be some impropriety, will immediately report it to the Head of School, who will inform the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
The Head of School, together with the Administrative Council, will investigate the allegation and inform the Chairman. If the Head of School and the Chairman believe the allegation to be true, they will take all the steps that are necessary to remedy the situation, including dismissing the employee. However, if they find that the allegation is without basis, they will take steps to clarify the circumstances to the parties involved and, if necessary, work to clear the name of the unfairly accused. At all times, the Head of School and the Chairman of the Board will ensure that the legal requirements regarding reporting to civil and criminal authorities are fulfilled. In general, anonymous allegations will not be considered to be credible.
Non-faculty staff members are considered faculty members for purposes of these guidelines. This policy in no way intends to limit state requirements that employees have to report reasonable suspicions of abuse of a minor.