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TEACHERS: Boundary invasion policies can be too limiting

Letter by Colin Guthrie, Puyallup on April 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm with 4 Comments »
April 29, 2011 12:46 pm

Two separate articles recently have reported on a school staff member being put on paid leave regarding something they were doing with students beyond their specific job description.

Boundary invasion policies in Washington state prevent staff from doing things that involve anything with students that is not their specific job description or events which the staff member is directly involved with. It also prohibits all personal issues from being discussed with staff and students and interaction beyond the school day, touching of students, transporting students and other similar issues.

Its intent was to prevent sexual misconduct with students by defining what boundary is “appropriate,” however there are situations where the boundaries this policy defines interfere with normal and appropriate interaction.

I also think this policy is a knee-jerk reaction to recent cases involving sexual misconduct with students where existing laws should have been used.

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Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. Yes, the sterile environment works real well in elementary school where the younger children try to hug their teacher or need comforting.

  2. cclngthr says:

    Frida,
    That and teachers and students being in the same place in a store. If a teacher also lives in the same area, or shops in the area where they work, they can come into contact with students.

    District officials want absolutely sterile contact between teachers and students.

    In other states, Idaho for one, teachers are evaluated on their ability to know the student on a personal level.

  3. Children learn in a trusting social environment. Touch is an important human sense that is necessary for healthy cognitive development. Once again, we have people making rules out of sheer ignorance and fear.

  4. sue1234,
    Exactly. Young children prefer to touch, and may prefer to be touched (appropriately) at times.

    However what this policy in sense does is call all forms of touch sexual.

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