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NH News

N.H. State Board of Education Establishes Codes of Ethics and Conduct for Educators

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

New Hampshire has new Codes of Ethics and Conduct for educators.

The Department of Education says the codes revolve around "four core principles" established by legislation in 2017: "Responsibility to students, responsibility to education profession and educational professionals, responsibility to the school community, and ethical use of technology."

Among other things, it defines inappropriate electronic communication with students, and it requires educators to adhere to this policy in their dealings with students for 10 months beyond the students' graduation or departure.

Frank Edelblut, the Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education said the Code of Conduct also creates clear guidelines for how school districts should deal with inappropriate behavior.

"We have really enumerated a really strong system so that educators can consistently rely on, so that when something happens, educators can go from A to B to C to D."

Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR
Frank Edelblut says N.H. "has a long tradition among educators of excellence, so in my mind this is ensconcing it."

Edelblut praised another provision which allows the Department to immediately remove credentials from someone who is arrested for an "egregious offenses" as defined by RSA 189:13-a.

Diana Fenton, an attorney at the DOE, explained that if the charges are dropped, the educator can get an immediate hearing to restore credentials.

"Now the department doesn't have to stand by and allow that person to maintain a credential during the criminal justice process to ferret out the merits of that charge," she said.

A task force of 20 administrators, educators, teacher unions gave feedback during the process of designing the new rules.

The NEA-New Hampshire says the issues covered by the code were already addressed by the law, but it appreciates that the Department incorporated some of its suggestions.