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DFS Hotline Tips

You Are Asked to Write A Statement
DO NOT PROVIDE A WRITTEN STATEMENT TO ADMINISTRATION UNTIL THE UNION HAS REVIEWED IT! 

I cannot say this enough times. Even when you know that you have done nothing wrong, how you say something can come back to haunt you. Simply tell the administrator or district official that you will get it to them as soon as it as been reviewed by the union.  
 

You Are Called Into a Meeting
If you are called into a meeting, you have the right to ask the reason for the meeting. If the meeting is disciplinary or may lead to discipline, you have the right to be given the opportunity to arrange for representation prior to the start of the meeting.
  1. Call the union office at 756-1818.
  2. Do not provide a written statement. Tell the administrator you will get it to them as soon as it as been reviewed by the union.
  3. If you are refused the opportunity for representation and are directed to attend the meeting, don't be insubordinate, but do the following:
    1. Take notes.
    2. Answer all questions with the following statement:  "I will be glad to answer that question as soon as my union representative is here".
  4. If, when you call the union office, a union rep is not available, the meeting can be rescheduled. Our contract allows 48 hours to have the meeting if a representative is not available. 

You Are Told To Report Downtown to Human Capital Management
If you are told to report downtown to Human Capital Management, call the union office immediately, and one of us will meet you there. Here's what usually happens when you report downtown:
  • There will probably be no discussion of the charges. That will take place at a later date. 
  • The district will give you a letter that says you are being displaced with pay until an investigation is completed. 
  • The letter will say that you are not to contact any students or district employees (other than the HR Director) or attend any district activities. It is critical that you do not talk to anyone other than your union representative and/or union lawyer about your situation.

Do Not Leave Any Child Unattended
 
Don't let your students out of eyesight. The district is now requiring that no child should ever be out of sight of an adult. You cannot send them to the office/nurse's office/bathroom alone or with another student.

I realize that some schools are not following these guidelines, but please be careful. If there is an incident when the child is unsupervised, you could find yourself in trouble. 


 

Emails & Computer Use
Do not use the District's email system (Outlook) for union or personal business. Please use your personal email account.

Do not use District computers for any personal business. Employees may be disciplined or terminated for violating the district's technology policies and procedures.

Nothing on a district computer is private. Click here to see the district's technology policy.


 

Social Media - Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Do not post on Facebook or other social media during work hours!

Be very careful with what you post online at any time.

  • Facebook photos - Missouri tenure law allows for a teacher to be terminated for immoral conduct, which can include suggestive photos online. 
  • Blogs/Posts/etc.: Courts have ruled that schools can regulate off-campus speech if such speech can be demonstrated to have an adverse impact on the school.
  • Teachers and other school staff have been dismissed and/or suspended because of the content on their social networking sites.

Do I Break Up a Fight Between Students?
If you are not a trained Security officer do not try to break up a fight between students. Call the office immediately, and try to keep other students safe.
 

Restraint - Hands Off
Do not attempt to restrain a student who is out of control unless the student is in danger of hurting himself/herself or another student. Call the office immediately. If necessary, remove the other students from the classroom. Write up the incident as soon as possible.

If a student wants to leave the classroom, let him/her go. Do not block the way. Call the office immediately and send a follow-up email to administration.

Keep physical contact with your students at a minimum. One teacher was called into a meeting this year because she touched a child's wrist to get the student to stop playing with her bracelet.

Pointers and Yardsticks - Although they can have a place in the classroom, discontinuing their use will decrease your chance of being the subject of a hotline call.

Long fingernails? Be especially careful if you have long nails that could easily, but unintentionally, scratch a student.


 

Never Take A Child Anywhere In Your Car
Never transport a child in your car. Don't invite students to your home. A teacher's good intentions to help a student can go terribly wrong in these situations. Don't put yourself in a position where you can be falsely accused of something or held liable.
 

Watch Your Language
Keep in mind that there are times when staff members are hotlined or referred to a district investigation for inappropriate use of language.
 

You Are A Mandated Reporter
In Missouri, if you have "reasonable cause to believe" a child is being abused or neglected you must report that suspicion to the state Department of Children's Services or law enforcement - and you are required by law to do it immediately.

Click here for a brief review of the law or click here for the complete guide of Missouri's Guidelines for Mandated Reporters


 

FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records.

Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record.

Click here to become more familiar about FERPA regulations.
 

Legal Representation
Our Union lawyers are the best in the area when it comes to dealing with hotlines and district investigations. A single visit with one of our lawyers could cost a non-member over $1,000 - much more than a year's worth of union dues. As a Union member, you have access to their services at no cost if you ever find yourself displaced and in need of legal protection.
 

Review

If you are hotlined or being investigated by the District:

  • Call the Union Office immediately - (816) 756-1818.
  • Do not provide any statement in writing until after you have consulted with your Union representative/Union attorney.
  • Do not discuss the events of the allegations with anyone.
  • Try to recall any events regarding the situation - for preparation for interview with the DFS/District investigator.
  • Ask for Union representation when asked to meet with the administrator.. 
  • Our Union attorney will be there for you and will schedule an interview with the DFS/District investigator.