NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

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K-12 Professionals

Ethics & Safety in Education: Guidelines for Teachers & Administrators

EDUC 600




Instructor: Dr. Larry Shyers

Grading: Letter

Spring, Summer & Fall (Ongoing)

Instruction Mode: Internet-Asynchronous (Online Class)

Academic Level: K-12 Professional Development

NDSU Credit Fee: $235

Class Offered Through Virtual Education Software, inc.

Course Description:

“Ethics & Safety in Education: Guidelines for Teachers & Administrators” was developed because teachers are increasingly being reported and charged with sexual misconduct and exploitation of their students.  This has become a national issue.  School administrators and state leaders are seeking answers.  In addition, lawmakers are demanding action and contemplating a variety of legislative responses.   This situation may shift oversight and discipline outside the profession.  Education leaders and administrators are faced with figuring out how to respond effectively.  All violations are disturbing, but teacher sexual abuse is most harmful.

The majority of violations are being committed by generally ethical and competent teachers, who, for reasons that will be addressed in this course, are making extremely poor decisions while demonstrating poor judgment and behavior during susceptible periods in their careers.  It is incumbent upon the leaders, administrators, and teachers in our school districts to recognize the causal relationship of subtle factors and circumstances that are the antecedents of career-ending events.  This acknowledgement is vital so that early intervention can occur before evolving problems escalate into violations. Equally important is the recognition that school districts, as well as individual schools, may carry organizational vulnerabilities that can unintentionally create a climate of collusion and enablement for ethical crossings and violations to occur. Changes are needed at all levels.

This course will present a new way of thinking about professional ethics and professional boundaries within the teaching profession.  We will look at the reasons that violations of ethics and boundaries sometimes occur.  Ethical violations that transpire in both administrative and relationship contexts will be addressed.  This course will help you look at ways of preventing such violations and help you understand how you as a teacher can intervene before violations take place.  These preventative responses are critical to your ability to protect your students, your profession, and your career.   

By taking this course, you will become part of a solution.  The children being taught need and deserve to feel safe in order to prosper as students.  Likewise, parents need the assurance that the school environment to which they send their children is secure.  The community demands to know that their teachers are professional, ethical, and above reproach.  Finally, as a teacher, you must avoid even the appearance of a violation to preserve the integrity of the profession.

This course is designed to keep ethical teachers ethical by reducing and managing a teacher’s violation potential. It is intended to be a part of a larger school district plan to protect the district’s teachers, staff, and students.


Chapter One:  Participants shall:
1. Know the definition of professionalism, ethics, and what they mean for the teaching profession.
2. Through the completion of the pre-test, identify and explain the possible moral or ethical dilemmas in each vignette.
3. Describe and be able to discuss the Rise of the Professions and the relationship to secular Western society professions such as Education.
4. Identify the nine principles found in most Codes of Ethics.
5. Seek out and read their respective profession’s Code of Ethics and/or State Code of Professional Conduct.
6. Describe the definitions, the distinctions, and the relationship of Professional Ethics, Law, and Professional Boundaries.
7. Know the distinction and interconnection of teaching, being a professional, professional boundaries, and the Power Differential

Chapter Two:  Participants shall:
1. Know the difference between Ethical Drifts, Crossings, and Violations.
2. Describe the impact of a colleague’s transgression on other members of the profession.
3. Know and discuss what are considered Administrative Violations.
4. Know and discuss what are considered non-sexual crossings and violations.
5. Explain the dynamics and implications of teachers’ committing sexual misconduct.
6. Be able to state and apply the three Laws of Professional Boundaries.

Chapter Three: Participants shall:
1. Describe what a Violation Potential is and what it means.
2. Understand and discuss the Boundary/Ethics Formula.
3. Be able to define, identify, and discuss Risk Factors.
4. Be able to define, identify, and discuss Vulnerabilities.
5. Be able to define, identify, and discuss Accountabilities.
6. Be able to define and discuss resistance and resistance to resistance.
7. Be able to define, identify, and discuss Catalysts.
8. Be able to explain and discuss Cognitive Distortion, Cold & Hot Ethics, and the Slippery Slope.

Chapter Four: Participants shall:
1. Describe the purpose of a Stratified Ethics Protection Plan (SEPP).
2. Identify the three tiers of a Stratified Ethics Protection Plan.
3. Describe the components essential in an effective Stratified Ethics Protection Plan.
4. Develop their own three-tiered SEPP.

Course Materials:

Title:  Ethics & Safety in Education: Guidelines for Teachers & Administrators
Author:  PBI Faculty
Publisher:  Professional Boundaries, Inc. (PBI) Copyright © 2011 PBI.
Instructor: Larry E. Shyers, PhD

View Syllabus

About The Instructor

Dr. Larry Shyers
Dr. Larry Shyers received his B.A. from David Lipscomb University, an M.A.T. from Stetson University, an M.Ed. from the University of Central Florida, and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida, Gainsville. He is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and an Approved Clinical Supervisor. The American Mental Health Counselors Association named him Counselor of the Year in 1994-95. Today Dr. Shyers conducts a variety of workshops, seminars, and training for licensed professionals, churches, and foster care workers throughout the United States. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida, the Reformed Theological Seminary, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Orlando Campus and at Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA. He has been an Individual, Marriage, and Family Christian counselor for more than 40 years and has been in private practice as a psychotherapist in Mount Dora, Florida since 1980.

Special Instructions:

Effective Spring, 2015 this course will no longer be available.

**Registration Instructions:

A minimum $20 processing fee will be assessed per person for cancellations received after the start of the course. Refunds are not issued after the start of the course or after access to the course has been provided. Use the Cancel Registration Form to cancel your registration for an NDSU Distance and Continuing Education class.

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