ECISD Holds Ethics Training In Light of History With Teacher-Student Relationships

ECISD Holds Ethics Training In Light of History With Teacher-Student Relationships
(Source: Ector County ISD)

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - The Ector County Independent School District held a series of ethics trainings for teachers and administrators in light of the recent improper teacher-student relationships over the past few years. Since 2013, there have been at least five different cases where teachers have been accused of improper relationships with students.

Tom Crow, Superintendent for Ector County I.S.D, said, "Most of you probably know we've been through some very tough situations here at Ector County I.S.D involving employee and student relations."

With the recurring cases involving employees and student relationships, the district is not taking the issue lightly. The ethics training session used real examples of educators that have gone astray in the past and what to do to prevent these types of improper relationship situations in the future.

David Thompson, a Principal Ethics Consultant and Professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, said the main goal was to enforce the Teacher Code of Ethics.

"To talk to them about how the code of ethics in enforced, to talk to them about the issues that will be involved if they are caught acting inappropriately with students, in hopes that we can get to the educators at an early enough point that they think twice before they engage in misconduct," said Thompson.

Another big topic of discussion was how social media has played a big role in many of these student-teacher relationship cases across the country. The district does authorize some employees to interact with students electronically, but only if the communication is consistent with the teachers code of ethics and district policy.

"It's when they step outside the scope of their duties and use electronic communication for things that they weren't hired to do is when they're getting on that slippery slope with social media," said Thompson.

But the most important aspect of the ethics training was teaching educators how to keep each student safe from improper relations.

Mike Adkins, Public Information Officer for ECISD, said, "I hope what they (employees) take from it is that it's against the law and it doesn't matter what the student does, the teacher and the educator is responsible for setting the boundaries and keeping the boundaries and that there are very serious consequences for it."