Code of Conduct

Ohio Educational Employee Conduct

Since 2008, the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Professional Conduct (OPC) has had the legislative authority to investigate allegations of misconduct using the Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators for anyone who holds or has applied for a license, certificate and/or permit issued by the State Board of Education (SBOE). This includes teachers, paraprofessionals with state issued permits, school treasurers, principals, superintendents and many others.

Additionally, there are state level statutes such as mandatory reporting, ethical use of assessments, confidentiality, prohibition of discrimination, and federal laws which apply to all educational employees. Many of these expectations are embedded and woven throughout the code.

In 2019, the principles of the Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators were updated by the Ohio State Board of Education (SBOE). This includes the inclusion of a new, ninth principle which focuses on responsible use of technology. Ohio’s 2021 Budget Bill added significant emphasis and consequences, relating to allegations and actual findings.

Possible Consequences

If the OPC determines misconduct (conduct unbecoming) has occurred, the SBOE, serving SBOE board member and/or the state superintendent has the ability to…” suspend, limit, deny, or revoke a license and determine whether the applicant is ever eligible to reapply. They may also admonish the applicant, license, certificate or permit holder.

These state level actions may occur in the absence or presence of consequences issued by the local employer. Dependent on the professional area of the individual’s license, permit or certificate, membership in a state or national professional organization may also trigger additional ethics and consequences.

The Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators

The code is comprised of nine broad principles. Each principle has a definitional narrative which is followed by a list of possible examples. It is important to note the lists should not be considered definitive. The document concludes with a review of the suggested discipline and consequences. Additional documents such as the Ethical Use of Assessments, required District Title IX policy, technology acceptable use policy, etc. should be considered to understand the full application of the principles.

How Does This Affect Educational Employees, Students and members of Local Education Associations?

In total, the code and above mentioned state and federal laws, set the expectations of professional conduct to ensure the physical, emotional, and civil safety of students and educational employees. Safe school environments are a significant contributor to student success for all students and teacher retention. Educators’ conduct serves to reinforce the caliber of the profession. It is critical for each educational employee to understand how the code and related state/federal laws may impact their profession and employment.

Disclaimer: This content is informational and does not replace, the professional responsibility of each licensed individual to thoroughly understand the Code and its implications for employment and licensure. The information should not be construed or used as a substitute for legal counsel.