Pre-emptive Strike: Stopping Teacher Misconduct Before It Starts


Recent news stories once again have shined a spotlight on the troubling issue of teacher misconduct. Consider these headlines:

  • “Teachers’ Slurs on Slack App Devastate Student,” from Providence Journal;
  • “Is Social Media Causing the Rise of Inappropriate Teacher-Student Relationships?” from Family Circle; and
  • “Private School Teacher Had Secret Sleepovers With Boarding School Students,” from the Sun Sentinel.

How common are such incidents? Is misconduct by educators on the rise?  What policies and practices exist to combat the problem, and what further steps are needed?

Some experts, for example, argue that rather than creating more rules and regulations — like banning hugs or the friending of students on Facebook — a new model code of ethics for educators offers a promising approach. Such a code might help educators better understand the appropriate boundaries in their relations with students and develop strategies to appropriately deal with situations before they become crises.