Appropriate Boundaries Between Students & Employees
Guidelines for Maintaining Boundaries
To ensure that all students and employees create a working environment that allows adults and students to work effective with each other while also maintaining appropriate boundaries, the following is a list of recommendations that all employees should use in working with students.
- It is understood that teachers may meet with their students for educational purposes outside of classroom time and that some of those meetings will involve one-on-one meetings. Any such private meeting with a student should, whenever possible, occur with the door open. If the circumstances require the door to be closed because additional privacy is needed, the meeting should be in a room with a window that should remain uncovered and the door to the room should remain unlocked. Employees of contracted service providers and volunteers/interns should not be alone with students in a non-public space or inside a room with a closed door. These guidelines still apply for coaches and athletic staff.
- Should not discipline students in any physical manner.
- Should not have intimate or romantic relationships with students.
- Should not lavish inappropriate attention on a particular student, including giving inappropriate gifts.
- Should not converse with students about their sexual lives except for an educational, health, or safety-related purpose, nor should they reveal details of their own sexual lives or romantic relationships to students.
- Should not reveal other inappropriate details about their personal lives to students (employees should not rely on students for their own personal self care).
- Should not inappropriately "hang out" with students outside of school, off campus school activities, or spend an inordinate amount of time "hanging out" with students even inside school. Adults at the school should always remember they are not the students' "friends" and therefore should not be engaging in peer-like behavior with the students.
- Should not provide alcohol or drugs to a student, nor permit one to drink or use drugs in his or her presence.
- Should not have extended affectionate physical contact with a student. Any such contact should be limited to a supportive, congratulatory, or quick hug, arm squeeze, or pat on the back. Patting of the buttocks with a hand even in an athletic context is prohibited. If a student engages in repeated and/or prolonged physical contact with a school employee, the employee should inform the student that this behavior is not appropriate and should report this behavior to a supervisor.
- Should not engage in any type of behavior that might have the appearance of impropriety if observed by others.
- Should not engage in physical horseplay, roughhousing, or other inappropriate physical games with students.
- Should not direct a student to keep a secret from, or not share information with, their parents/guardians or other school employees.
- Should not tutor a student in their home without the student's parent or guardian present. In addition, school employees should not tutor students in the employees' home unless another adult is present and the student's parent/guardian has given permission.
- Should not allow students to ride in the employees' personal cars.
- Should not be present at a student's home when a parent/guardian is not present, whether for a social gathering or otherwise. In addition, employees should not invite students to their homes for holidays or other occasions without approval from the employee's division heads. The school requires written (email or text can suffice) parental consent if a student is going to go to a school employee's home. Finally, an employee should never have only one student alone at his or her home, nor should they have students to their home at all unless there is another adult present.
- During any and all overnight trips and sleepovers, should not be alone with students in a room assigned to one or more students for housing purposes, should not sleep in a separate room alone with one student, should not invite a student to sleep in their room alone, and should not be inside a student's room when the student is changing or sleeping.
- May awaken students by loudly knocking on their doors or calling out to them, but should not awaken students by making physical contact with them.
- Should not appear unclothed or in their underwear in front of a student. Thus, on overnight trips and sleepovers, employees should not walk around outside of their sleeping quarters unclothed or in their underwear. In addition, in other facilities, employees should not shower and change in locker rooms when students are present.
- Should supervise locker rooms, as necessary, to prevent misbehavior and injury, and should do so by announcing their presence as they enter.
The term "employee" refers to all School employees (full and part time), volunteers and employees of contracted service providers.
The term "student" refers to current Overlake students in grades 5-12.
Reporting of Inappropriate Boundary Crossings
Anyone who believes a boundary has been crossed should bring such information to the Head of the Upper School, Head of the Middle School, Assistant Upper School Head, Personal Counselors, an Advisor, and/or a trusted adult at school. That adult is responsible to report that incident within 24-48 hours to the Head of the Upper School, Head of the Middle School, Assistant Upper School Head, or the Head of School who will then be responsible for investigating the incident and addressing it with the employee who may have crossed a boundary.
Information that a boundary may have been crossed that comes to the attention of the School will be followed up on by the Administration and communicated with the student's parent(s) or guardian(s).