The acceptance of a code of ethics implies the understanding of the basic organization of School Committees under the Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The oath of office of a School Committee member binds the individual member to adherence to those state laws which apply to school committees, since School Committees are agencies of the state.
This code of ethics delineates three areas of responsibility of School Committee members in addition to that implied above: (1) community responsibility; (2) responsibility to the school administration; and (3) relationship to fellow Committee members.
- A School Committee member in his/her relations with the community should:
- Realize that his/her primary responsibility is to the children.
- Recognize that his/her basic function is policymaking and not administrative.
- Remember that the Chair is the public spokesperson for the Committee at all times except when this responsibility is specifically delegated to others. (see Policy BDB )
- Remember that he/she is one of a team and must abide by, and carry out, all Committee decisions once they are made. If an individual committee member wishes to express disagreement with a voted decision publicly, he/she must make it clear that he/she speaks only for himself/herself and he/she also should state the Committee’s voted decision.
- Be well informed concerning the duties of a Committee member on both a local and state level.
- Remember that he/she represents the entire community at all times.
- Clarify when outside of a School Committee meeting and expressing his/her opinion concerning any Committee business, that he/she is speaking only for himself/herself and not for the entire School Committee.
- Accept the office as a Committee member as a means of unselfish service with no intent to “play politics,” in any sense of the word, or to benefit personally from his Committee activities.
- A School Committee member in his/her relations with the school administration should:
- Endeavor to establish sound, clearly defined policies which will direct and support the administration.
- Recognize and support the administrative chain of command and refuse to act on complaints as an individual outside the administration.
- Give the Superintendent full responsibility for discharging his/her professional duties and hold him/her responsible for acceptable results.
- Refer all complaints to the administrative staff for solution and only discuss them at Committee meetings if such solutions fail.
- A School Committee member in his/her relations with his fellow Committee members should:
- Recognize that action at official meetings is binding and that he/she alone cannot bind the Committee outside of such meetings.
- Realize that statements or promises should not be made regarding how he/she will vote on matters that will come before the Committee.
- Uphold the intent of executive sessions and respect the privileged communication that exists in executive session.
- Make decisions only after all facts on a question have been presented and discussed.
Region Voted to Approve: 8/15/06
Amherst Voted to Approve: 9/19/06
Pelham Voted to Approve: 9/7/06
Effective Date: 9/19/06