Utah Department of Administrative Services Division of Administrative Rules

Utah Administrative Code

The Utah Administrative Code is the body of all effective administrative rules as compiled and organized by the Division of Administrative Rules (Subsection 63G-3-102(5); see also Sections 63G-3-701 and 702).

NOTE: For a list of rules that have been made effective since March 1, 2014, please see the codification segue page.

NOTE TO RULEFILING AGENCIES: Use the RTF version for submitting rule changes.


R277. Education, Administration.

Rule R277-515. Utah Educator Standards.

As in effect on March 1, 2014

Table of Contents

R277-515-1. Definitions.

A. "Board" means the Utah State Board of Education.

B. "Diversion agreement" means an agreement between a prosecutor and defendant entered into prior to a conviction delaying prosecution of a criminal charge for a specified period of time and contingent upon the defendant satisfying certain conditions.

C. "Educator or professional educator" means a person who currently holds a license, held a license at the time of an alleged offense, is an applicant for a license, or is a person in training to obtain a license. The "professional" denotes that the individual holds or is seeking a Utah educator license as opposed to a paraprofessional or a volunteer or unlicensed teacher in a classroom

D. "Felony offense" means any offense for which an individual is charged with a first, second or third degree felony under the Utah Criminal Code, Title 76, the Public Employees Ethics Act, Title 67, Chapter 16, the Clandestine Drug Lab Act, Title 58 Chapter 37d, the Procurement Code, Title 63G, Chapter 6, or any other statute in the Utah Code establishing a felony.

E. "Illegal drug(s)" means a substance included in Schedules I, II, III, IV, or V of Section 58-37-4, and also includes a drug or substance included in Schedules I, II, III, IV, or V of the federal Controlled Substances Act, Title II, P.L. 91-513, or any controlled substance analog.

F. "Illegal sexual conduct" means any conduct proscribed under the Utah Criminal Code, Sections 76-5- 401 through 406, Section 76-5a-1-4, and Section 76-9-704 through 704.

G. "Licensing discipline" means sanctions ranging from an admonition, a letter of warning, a written reprimand, suspension of license, and revocation of license, or other appropriate disciplinary measures, for violation of professional educator standards.

H. "Misdemeanor offense" means any offense for which an individual is charged with a Class A, B, or C misdemeanor under the Utah Criminal Code, Title 76, the Public Employees Ethics Act, Title 67, Chapter 16, the Clandestine Drug Lab Act, Title 58 Chapter 37d, the Procurement Code, Title 63G, Chapter 6, or any other statute in the Utah Code establishing a misdemeanor.

I. "Plea in abeyance" means a plea of guilty or no contest which is not entered as a judgment or conviction but is held by a court in abeyance for a specified period of time.

J. "School-related activity" means any event, activity or program occurring at the school before, during or after school hours or which students attend at a remote location as representatives of the school or with the school's authorization, or both.

K. "Stalking" means the act of intentionally or knowingly engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person as defined in Section 76-5-106.5.

L. "Utah Core Curriculum" means minimum academic standards provided through courses as established by the Board which shall be mastered by all students K-12 as a requisite for graduation from Utah's secondary schools.

M. "Utah Public Employees Ethics Act" means the provisions established in Section 67-16-1-14.

N. "Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission (Commission)" means a commission established to assist and advise the Board in matters relating to the professional practices of educators, as established under Section 53A-6-301.

O. "USOE" means the Utah State Office of Education.

P. "Weapon(s)" means any item that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.

R277-515-2. Authority and Purpose.

A. This rule is authorized by Utah Constitution Article X, Section 3 which vests the general control and supervision of the public schools in the Board, by Section 53A-1-402(1)(a) which directs the Board to make rules regarding the certification of educators, by Section 53A-6 which provides all laws related to educator licensing and professional practices, and by Section 53A-1-401(3) which allows the Board to adopt rules in accordance with its responsibilities.

B. The purpose of this rule is to establish statewide standards for public school educators that provide notice to educators and prospective educators and notice and protection to public school students and parents. The rule also recognizes that licensed public school educators are professionals and, as such, should share common professional standards, expectations and role model responsibilities. The rule distinguishes behavior for which educators shall receive license discipline from behavior that all Utah educators should aspire to and for which license discipline shall be initiated only in egregious circumstances or following a pattern of offenses.

R277-515-3. Educator as a Role Model of Civic and Societal Responsibility.

A. The professional educator is responsible for compliance with federal, state, and local laws.

B. The professional educator shall familiarize himself with professional ethics and is responsible for compliance with applicable professional standards.

C. Failing to strictly adhere to the following shall result in licensing discipline as defined in R277-515-1G. The professional educator, upon receiving a Utah educator license:

(1) shall not be convicted of any felony or misdemeanor offense which adversely affects the individual's ability to perform assigned duties and carry out the responsibilities of the profession, including role model responsibilities.

(2) shall not be convicted of or commit any act of violence or abuse, including physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of any person;

(3) shall not commit any act of cruelty to children or any criminal offense involving children;

(4) shall not be convicted of a stalking crime;

(5) shall not possess or distribute illegal drugs, or be convicted of any crime related to illegal drugs, including prescription drugs not specifically prescribed for the individual;

(6) shall not be convicted of any illegal sexual conduct, including offenses that are plea bargained to lesser offenses from an initial sexual offense;

(7) shall not be subject to a diversion agreement specific to sex-related or drug-related offenses, plea in abeyance, court-imposed probation or court supervision related to criminal charges which could adversely impact the educator's ability to perform the duties and responsibilities of the profession;

(8) shall not provide to students or allow students, under the educator's supervision or control to consume alcoholic beverages or unauthorized drugs;

(9) shall not attend school or a school-related activity in an assigned supervisory capacity, while possessing, using, or under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs;

(10) shall not intentionally exceed the prescribed dosages of prescription medications while at school or a school-related activity;

(11) shall cooperate in providing all relevant information and evidence to the proper authorities in the course of an investigation by a law enforcement agency or by Child Protective Services regarding potential criminal activity. However, an educator shall be entitled to decline to give evidence against himself in any such investigation if the same may tend to incriminate the educator as that term is defined by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution;

(12) shall report suspected child abuse or neglect to law enforcement or the Division of Child and Family Services pursuant to Sections 53A-6-502 and 62A-4a-409 and comply with Board rules and school district policies regarding the reporting of suspected child abuse;

(13) shall strictly adhere to state laws regarding the possession of firearms, while on school property or at school-sponsored activities, and enforce district policies related to student access to or possession of weapons;

(14) shall not solicit, encourage or consummate an inappropriate relationship, written, verbal, or physical, with a student or minor;

(15) shall not participate in sexual, physical, or emotional harassment or any combination toward any public school-age student or colleague, nor knowingly allow harassment toward students or colleagues;

(16) shall not make inappropriate contact in any communication-written, verbal, or electronic-with minor, student, or colleague, regardless of age or location;

(17) shall not interfere or discourage students' or colleagues' legitimate exercise of political and civil rights, acting consistent with law and school district/school policies;

(18) shall provide accurate and complete information in required evaluations of himself, other educators, or students, as directed, consistent with the law;

(19) shall be forthcoming with accurate and complete information to appropriate authorities regarding known educator misconduct which could adversely impact performance of professional responsibilities, including role model responsibilities, by himself or others;

(20) shall provide accurate and complete information required for licensure, transfer, or employment purposes; and

(21) shall provide accurate and complete information regarding qualifications, degrees, academic or professional awards or honors, and related employment history when applying for employment or licensure.

(22) shall notify the USOE at the time of application for licensure of past license disciplinary action or license discipline from other jurisdictions;

(23) shall notify the USOE honestly and completely of past criminal convictions at the time of the license application and renewal of licenses; and

(24) shall provide complete and accurate information during an official inquiry or investigation by school district, state, or law enforcement personnel.

D. Failure to adhere to the following may result in licensing discipline as defined in R277-515-1G. Penalties shall be imposed, most readily, if educators have received previous documented warning(s) from the educator's employer.

(1) An educator shall not exclude a student from participating in any program, or deny or grant any benefit to any student on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, marital status, political or religious beliefs, physical or mental conditions, family, social, or cultural background, or sexual orientation, and shall not engage in conduct that would encourage a student(s) to develop a prejudice on these grounds or any other, consistent with the law.

(2) An educator shall maintain confidentiality concerning a student unless revealing confidential information to authorized persons serves the best interest of the student and serves a lawful purpose, consistent with federal and state Family Educational Rights and Privacy Acts (FERPA).

(3) Consistent with the Utah Public Officers' and Employees' Ethics Act, Section 53A-1-402.5, and Board rules, a professional educator:

(a) shall not accept bonuses or incentives from vendors, potential vendors, or gifts from parents of students, or students where there may be the appearance of a conflict of interest or impropriety;

(b) shall not accept or give gifts to students that would suggest or further an inappropriate relationship;

(c) shall not accept or give gifts to colleagues that are inappropriate or further the appearance of impropriety;

(d) may accept donations from students, parents, and businesses donating specifically and strictly to benefit students;

(e) may accept, but not solicit, nominal appropriate personal gifts for birthdays, holidays and teacher appreciation occasions, consistent with school or school district policies and the Utah Public Officers' and Employees' Ethics Act;

(f) shall not use his position or influence to:

(i) solicit colleagues, students or parents or students to purchase equipment, supplies, or services from the educator or participate in activities that financially benefit the educator unless approved in writing by the local school board or governing board;

(ii) promote athletic camps, summer leagues, travel opportunities, or other outside instructional opportunities from which the educator receives personal remuneration, and that involve students in the educator's school system, unless approved in writing consistent with local school board or governing board policy and Board rule; and

(g) shall not use school property, facilities, or equipment for personal enrichment, commercial gain, or for personal uses without express supervisor permission.

R277-515-4. Educator Responsibility for Maintaining a Safe Learning Environment and Educational Standards.

A. A professional educator maintains a positive and safe learning environment for students, and works toward meeting educational standards required by law.

B. Failure to strictly adhere to the following shall result in licensing discipline as defined in R277-515-1G. The professional educator, upon receiving a Utah educator license:

(1) shall take prompt and appropriate action to prevent harassment or discriminatory conduct towards students or school employees that may result in a hostile, intimidating, abusive, offensive, or oppressive learning environment;

(2) shall resolve disciplinary problems according to law, school board policy, and local building procedures and strictly protect student confidentiality and understand laws relating to student information and records;

(3) shall supervise students appropriately at school and school-related activities, home or away, consistent with district policy and building procedures and the age of the students;

(4) shall take action to protect a student from any known condition detrimental to that student's physical health, mental health, safety or learning;

(5) shall demonstrate honesty and integrity by strictly adhering to all state and district instructions and protocols in managing and administering standardized tests to students consistent with Section 53A-1-608 and R277-473;

(a) shall cooperate in good faith with required student assessments;

(b) shall encourage students' best efforts in all assessments;

(c) shall submit and include all required student information and assessments, as required by state law and State Board of Education rules; and

(d) shall attend training and cooperate with assessment training and assessment directives at all levels.

(6) shall not use or attempt to use school district or school computers or information systems in violation of the school district's acceptable use policy for employees or access information that may be detrimental to young people or inconsistent with the educator's role model responsibility; and

(7) shall not knowingly possess, while at school or any school-related activity, any pornographic material in any form.

C. Failure to adhere to the following may result in licensing discipline as defined in R277-515-1G. Penalties shall be imposed, most readily, if educators have received previous documented warning(s) from the educator's employer: A professional educator:

(1) shall demonstrate respect for diverse perspectives, ideas, and opinions and encourage contributions from a broad spectrum of school and community sources, including communities whose heritage language is not English;

(2) shall use appropriate language, eschewing profane, foul, offensive, or derogatory comments or language;

(3) shall maintain a positive and safe learning environment for students;

(4) shall work toward meeting educational standards required by law;

(5) shall teach the objectives contained in the Utah Core Curriculum;

(6) shall not distort or alter subject matter from the Core in a manner inconsistent with the law and shall use instructional time effectively; and

(7) shall use instructional time effectively consistent with school and school district policies.

R277-515-5. Professional Educator Responsibility for Compliance with School District Policies.

A. Failure to strictly adhere to the following shall result in licensing discipline as defined in R277-515-1G. The professional educator:

(1) understands and follows Board rules and local board policies

(2) understands and follows school and administrative policies and procedures;

(3) understands and respects appropriate boundaries, established by ethical rules and school policies and directives, in teaching, supervising and interacting with students and colleagues; and

(4) shall conduct financial business with integrity by honestly accounting for all funds committed to the educator's charge, as school responsibilities require, consistent with school and school district policy.

B. Failure to adhere to the following may result in licensing discipline as defined in R277-515-1G. Penalties shall be imposed most readily, if educators have received previous documented warning(s) from the educator's employer. The professional educator:

(1) shall resolve grievances with students, colleagues, school community members, and parents professionally, with civility, and in accordance with school district/charter school policies; and

(2) shall follow school district/charter school policies for collecting money from students, accounting for all money collected, and not commingling any school funds with personal funds.

R277-515-6. Professional Educator Conduct.

A. A professional educator exhibits integrity and honesty in relationships with school and district administrators and personnel.

B. Failure to adhere to the following may result in licensing discipline as defined in R277-515-1G. Penalties shall be imposed most readily, if educators have received previous documented warning(s) from the educator's employer. The professional educator:

(1) shall communicate professionally and with civility with colleagues, school and community specialists, administrators and other personnel;

(2) maintains a professional and appropriate relationship and demeanor with students, colleagues and school community members and parents;

(3) shall not promote personal opinions, personal issues, or political positions as part of the instructional process in a manner inconsistent with law; expresses personal opinions professionally and responsibly in the community served by the school;

(4) shall comply with school and district policies, supervisory directives, and generally-accepted professional standards regarding appropriate dress and grooming at school and school-related events;

(5) shall work diligently to improve the educator's own professional understanding, judgment, and expertise;

(6) shall honor all contracts for professional services;

(7) shall perform all services required or directed by the educator's contract with the school district, school, or charter school with professionalism consistent with local policies and Board rules; and

(8) shall recruit other educators for employment in another position only within district timelines and guidelines.

R277-515-7. Violations of Professional Ethics.

A. This rule establishes standards of ethical decorum and behavior for licensed educators in Utah.

B. Provisions of this rule do not prevent, circumvent, replace, nor mirror criminal or potential charges that may be issued against professional educators.

C. The Board and USOE shall adhere to the provisions of this rule in licensing and disciplining licensed Utah educators.

D. Reporting and employment provisions related to professional ethics are provided in:

(1) Section 53A-3-410;

(2) Section 53A-6-501;

(3) Section 53A-11-403; and

(4) R277-514-5.

KEY

educators, professional, standards

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment

August 7, 2008

Notice of Continuation

November 15, 2012

Authorizing, Implemented, or Interpreted Law

Art X Sec 3; 53A-1-402(1)(a); 53A-6; 53A-1-401(3)


Additional Information

Contact

For questions regarding the content or application of rules under Title R277, please contact the promulgating agency (Education, Administration). A list of agencies with links to their homepages is available at http://www.utah.gov/government/agencylist.html or from http://www.rules.utah.gov/contact/agencycontacts.htm.