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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 54 Pa.B. 1806 (March 30, 2024).

22 Pa. Code § 235.5a. Commitment to students.

§ 235.5a. Commitment to students.

 (a)  The primary professional obligation of educators is to the students they serve.

 (b)  In fulfillment of the commitment to students, educators:

   (1)  Shall exercise their rights and powers in good faith and for the benefit of the student.

   (2)  Shall maintain appropriate professional relationships and boundaries with all students at all times, both in and outside the classroom.

   (3)  Shall not sexually harass students or engage in sexual misconduct.

   (4)  Shall exert reasonable effort to protect students from harm.

   (5)  Shall not intentionally expose a student to disparagement.

   (6)  Shall exhibit consistent and equitable treatment and shall not unlawfully discriminate against students.

   (7)  Shall not interfere with a student’s exercise of political or civil rights and responsibilities.

   (8)  Shall not knowingly or intentionally distort or misrepresent evaluations of students or facts regarding students.

   (9)  Shall not knowingly or intentionally misrepresent subject matter or curriculum.

   (10)  Shall respect a student’s right to privacy and comply with all Federal and State laws and regulations, and local policies concerning student records and confidential communications of students.

   (11)  Shall not be on school premises or at a school-related activity involving students, while under the influence of, possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages or illegal or unauthorized drugs.

   (12)  Shall not furnish, provide, or encourage students or underage persons to use, possess or unlawfully distribute alcohol, tobacco, vaping products, illegal or unauthorized drugs or knowingly allow any student or underage person to consume alcohol, tobacco, vaping products, or illegal or unauthorized drugs in the presence of the educator.

   (13)  Shall refrain from inappropriate communication with a student or minor, including, inappropriate communication achieved by electronic communication. Inappropriate communication includes communications that are sexually explicit, that include images, depictions, jokes, stories or other remarks of a sexualized nature, that can be reasonably interpreted as flirting or soliciting sexual contact or a romantic relationship, or that comment on the physical or sexual attractiveness or the romantic or sexual history, activities, preferences, desires or fantasies of either the educator or the student. Factors that may be considered in assessing whether other communication is inappropriate include:

     (i)   the nature, purpose, timing and amount/extent of the communication;

     (ii)   the subject matter of the communication; and

     (iii)   whether the communication was made openly or the educator attempted to conceal the communication.


   The provisions for this §  235.5a added under section 5(a)(10) of the Educator Discipline Act (24 P.S. §  207.5(a)(10)).


   The provisions of this §  235.5a added August 20, 2021, effective August 21, 2021, 51 Pa.B. 5199.

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