Professional Standards is designated by the Superintendent to conduct investigations into possible violations of district policies, the Principles of Professional Conduct of the Education Profession in Florida, and the Civil Service and Personnel Rules and Regulations, which govern employee behavior. It is this office’s responsibility to conduct thorough and impartial investigations, and provide guidance and support to both school-based and district administrators in matters of employee behavior.
Functions of Professional Standards
- Maintain district discipline records.
- Provide guidance to administrators in employee misconduct matters.
- Investigation of all employee misconduct matters which come before the School Board.
- The point of contact for the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Professional Practices.
- Maintain lines of communication with the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE), Florida Department of Children and Family Services (DCF), various law enforcement agencies, Duval Teachers United (DTU), Office of General Counsel (OGC), State Attorney’s Office (SAO), and other agencies as necessary.
Progressive Discipline Process
There are four steps of the progressive discipline process. Action taken regarding inappropriate behavior of poor performance is determined in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) of the employee. Progressive discipline can range dependent upon the infraction and the CBA. It includes verbal reprimand, written reprimand, suspension-without-pay, reduction-in-pay, demotion, and in some cases, termination.
Factors considered when determining discipline include:
- The severity of the conduct alleged to occur
- Whether the individual had any prior similar discipline, or any other history or background information that would shed light on the intent or circumstances
- Whether injuries resulted from the conduct
- Any mitigating factors (i.e., the employee was being assaulted at the time)
- The age of the person against whom the conduct is directed and/or their level of vulnerability (e.g., a profoundly disabled student or inability to verbalize)
- Whether the employee just started with the District and may not be familiar with all district policies and protocols, or is a veteran employee
- The effect the conduct has on the outcome of the student’s performance on an exam (i.e., a test score being invalidated because of a testing violation)
This list provides examples only and is not exhaustive of the circumstances that are considered relative to the level of discipline administered.
Process of Reporting Employee Misconduct
- It is the expectation of the District that all employees reporting allegations of employee misconduct to your immediate supervisor/administrative team.
- School administration or department leadership will conduct an initial investigation of the allegation. This will include obtaining written statements from the accuser as well as all individuals with direct knowledge of the incident in question. (Direct knowledge means you were present and either saw or heard what occurred. It is not what someone told you.) The administration will also collect available additional pertinent documentation and information for consideration.
- This information is presented to the Office of Equity and Inclusion/ Professional Standards (OEI/PS) for review and determination as to whether the matter will be handled at the school level or the District level. Typically matters of a less serious nature and/or those which, based on the information provided, do not appear to rise to the above level of Step 2 of the progressive discipline process will be referred back to the school/ department administration for completion. Those matters which appear to be more serious in nature and those which are further investigated by the OEI/PS are reviewed by the Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources, and the Superintendent for recommendation to the School Board for action.
Professional Standards can be contacted by phone at (904) 390-2054 and by fax (904) 390-2468.