-- 6600 -- OCAG Employee Rights and Responsibilities

A.  Professional Education

The organization and the school district conduct various types of professional development opportunities which shall serve to increase the efficiency of all staff members, instructional, administrative and supportive. Staff members are expected to participate in such professional education activities. Days and times designated as pro-ed or training must be used as such unless the principal agrees to another use of the time in writing.

B.  Copyrights and Patents

In those instances in which a product is clearly outside the job description of an employee, the results of those employee’s work are the employee’s private property. Organization employees have the privilege to do research, write articles, pamphlets and books, and to present papers before learned societies, to enter into contracts for the publication of their works, to procure copyrights and patents for their products, and to receive royalties that may accrue to them as a result of the sale of such works. Such work may not interfere with the performance of the employee’s regular or assigned duties.

When such a product is connected with the employee’s work assignment, and the employee desires to obtain a copyright or patent, a written outline of the project and a statement of the employee’s intent to acquire a copyright or patent shall be presented to the school operations manager who shall have sixty (60) days to determine whether the school shall have an interest in such a product. If, at the end of such a sixty (60) day period, the employee has received no such statement from the school operations manager, the employee shall be free to consider such a product as personal property. In the event the school operations manager informs the employee that the organization has an interest in such product, the employee and the organization may enter into whatever contractual agreement(s) may be in their mutual interests.

C.  Reproduction of Copyrighted Materials

Organization employees are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the provisions of the copyright laws currently in force under Title XVII of the United States Code. Any reproduction of copyrighted materials shall be done either with permission of the copyright holder or within the bounds of the “fair use” doctrine of the copyright law; otherwise, the individual employee responsible for reproduction may be liable for breach of copyright under existing laws.

D.  Transporting Students

Unless an employee is transporting a student during an emergency, or during an officially approved trip in accordance with organization procedures, such transportation shall be furnished at the employee’s own risk or liability. The organization does not expect employees to transport students except when such transportation is provided during an emergency or an officially approved trip. An employee who provides such transportation except for an emergency or during an officially approved trip shall be acting outside the scope of that employee’s employment.

Each employee must provide a copy of a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance to the organization prior to transporting any student for any reason. 

E.  Smoking of Tobacco Products on School Property

The purpose of this policy is to comply with the “Florida Clean Indoor Air Act” in protecting the public health, comfort and environment by creating areas in all school facilities that are free from tobacco smoke. No person may be in possession of a lighted cigarette, lighted pipe, lighted cigar, or any other lighted tobacco product, in any school facility, including the outside grounds, or within 100 feet of any building or area used by the organization. No areas for smoking shall be designated on the organization’s property, or within 100 feet of any building or area used by the organization. Students and staff members found in possession of tobacco products will face disciplinary actions as described within this policy manual. Other adults found in possession may be restricted from access to organizational property based on the circumstances of the incident.

F.  Drug-Free and Alcohol-Free Workplace

This policy is derived from, and complies with, the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. Additionally, the purpose of this policy is to comply with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regulations for the establishment and implementation of anti-drug programs in the motor carrier industry as set forth in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 391 “Qualifications of Drivers” and 394 (Notification and Reporting of Accidents.” These parts of the CFR include, by reference, the requirements of 49 CFR Part 40 “Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug Testing Programs” which apply to all Department of Transportation regulated industries and set forth the procedural requirements for testing, from urine sample collection through analysis and verification of test results.

Employees are prohibited from engaging in the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, being under the influence of, or use of alcohol and/or a controlled substance (as defined in Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes): in the workplace; or during the workday; or when on duty; or in the presence of students or students’ families as part of any work-related activities. Violation of this prohibition shall result in appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination and referral for prosecution.

Drug-Free and Alcohol-Free Workplace
A drug-free and alcohol-free workplace shall be maintained. Each employee shall be given a copy of this policy as part of this policy manual. Additionally, each employee shall be notified that, as a condition of employment, the employee will abide by the terms of this policy and notify the employer of any criminal drug and/or alcohol statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace no later than five days after such conviction. The employer will initiate certification/revocation proceedings pursuant to Section 1012.795 F.S. for certificated employees convicted of criminal charges. Within thirty (30) days of notification, appropriate personnel action against such an employee shall be taken, up to and including termination. Employees can also be required to participate satisfactorily in a drug and/or alcohol abuse assistance or rehabilitation program approved for such purposes by a federal, state, or local health, law enforcement, or other appropriate agency.

Drug and Alcohol Testing
The organization retains the right to perform testing for drugs and alcohol at the following times:
  • Pre-employment testing: All individuals whom the organization intends to hire on a permanent or temporary basis may be tested at the discretion of the organization.
  • Reasonable Suspicion Testing: When a covered employee’s conduct or appearance is directly observed as indicative of being under the influence of a drug or alcohol during on-duty time.   
  • Post-Accident Testing: As soon as practicable following an accident, a driver (unless deceased) shall be tested for alcohol and controlled substances when any person involved in the accident has been fatally injured or the covered employee received a citation for a moving traffic violation arising from the accident. Testing will be conducted not later than thirty-two (32) hours after the accident for drugs and not later than eight (8) hours after the accident for alcohol. For the purpose of this rule an accident is defined as an incident involving a commercial motor vehicle in which there is either a fatality, an injury treated away from the scene, or a vehicle is required to be towed from the scene.
  • Follow-Up Testing: As part of or as a follow-up to counseling or rehabilitation the covered employee is subject to unannounced follow-up drug or alcohol testing. The covered employee shall be subject to a minimum of six (6) follow-up drug or alcohol tests in the first twelve (12) months.
  • Random Testing: Random testing can be performed at any point in time at the discretion of the school operations manager.
  • Return to Duty Testing: Before a covered employee returns to duty requiring the performance of a safety-sensitive function after engaging in a prohibited conduct the covered employee shall undergo a return-to-duty test. In the event a return-to-duty test is required, a substance abuse professional (SAP) must also evaluate the covered employee and the employee must participate in any assistance program prescribed.
Testable Substances
Individuals shall be tested for the following drugs: marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, phencyclidine (PCP), alcohol, and all other illegal or controlled substances. Covered employees who engage in prohibited drug and/or alcohol related conduct must be immediately removed from duties. Such removal shall be affected for the following, in addition to other actions deemed dangerous or improper by the school operations manager.
  1. Using alcohol while performing safety-sensitive functions.
  2. When required to take a post-accident alcohol test, using alcohol within eight (8) hours following the accident or prior to undergoing a post-accident alcohol test, whichever comes first.
  3. Refusing to submit to a drug or alcohol test required by post-accident, reasonable suspicion or follow-up test requirements.
  4. Reporting for duty or remaining on duty, requiring the performance of safety-sensitive functions, when the covered employee uses any drug, except when instructed by a physician who has advised the covered employee that the drug does not adversely affect the covered employee’s ability to safely operate a CMV.
  5. Reporting for duty, remaining on duty or performing a safety-sensitive function, if the covered employee tests positive for drugs.
Prescribed Medications
Notwithstanding anything contrary to the prohibition section above, an employee may possess, consume or be under the influence of lawfully prescribed drugs while on duty, so long as the use of the prescribed drug is pursuant to the prescribing instructions of a licensed medical practitioner who has advised the individual that the substance will not adversely affect the individual's ability to safely perform all assigned duties.

Any use of prescribed medications that could foreseeably interfere with the safe and effective performance of duties or operation of equipment must be brought to the attention of the employee's immediate supervisor. Failure to notify the employee's supervisor could result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Employees on duty will not use or take prescription drugs above the level recommended by the prescribing physician, and will not use prescribed drugs for purposes other than what the prescribed drugs were intended. In the event there is a question regarding the employee's ability to safely and effectively perform assigned duties while using such medication, clearance from a qualified physician may be required.

Positive Result(s) from a Drug Analysis
A positive result from a drug analysis, including cannabis, will result in the applicant not being hired or employee disciplinary action, up to and including termination unless the applicant can produce evidence to satisfactorily explain the test results.

Within five (5) working days after receiving notice of a positive confirmed test result, the applicant shall be allowed to submit information explaining or contesting the test results including a valid current prescription for the drug identified in the drug screen. The organization will determine whether a reasonable accommodation is feasible.

Disciplinary Consequences If Positive Results
Disciplinary action up to and including termination may be instituted against covered employees who have violated the standards of conduct cited in this policy. Nothing will preclude the organization from seeking prosecution for violation of this policy where the board deems appropriate. An employee who receives a positive drug test result or an alcohol test result (.04 or greater concentration) from a required test during on-duty time will be immediately suspended without pay and recommended for dismissal. An employee who refuses to submit to a required alcohol or controlled substances test will be immediately suspended and recommended for dismissal. Refusal to submit to an alcohol or controlled substances test is defined as:
  1. failing to provide adequate breath for testing without a valid medical explanation after the employee has received notice of the requirement for breath testing; 
  2. failing to provide adequate urine for controlled substances testing without a valid medical explanation after the employee has received notice of the requirement for urine testing; or 
  3. the employee engaging in conduct that clearly obstructs the testing process. The employee will be provided with the name(s) of a qualified substance Abuse Professional (2) (SAP) and resources available from which the employee may choose to seek assistance.
An offer of employment will be withdrawn for any individual who receives a positive drug test result or who receives a result showing an alcohol concentration of .02 or greater on a required pre-employment test.

An employee who receives a result showing an alcohol concentration of .02-.039 from a required test shall be removed from performing any safety-sensitive function for a minimum of twenty-four (24) hours. Duty time missed shall be charged to unpaid leave or may be charged to PTO time if available. Disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with these policies.

An employee who receives a result showing an alcohol concentration of .02-.039 from a required post-accident test shall be removed from performing any safety-sensitive function for a minimum of twenty-four (24) hours. Duty time missed shall be charged to unpaid leave or may be charged to PTO time if available. Any covered employee who is cited and found guilty of a violation as a result of involvement in an accident will also receive a letter of reprimand. Disciplinary action for subsequent incidents will be taken in accordance with these policies.

An employee who is convicted of felony driving under the influence (DUI) or any drug related offense will be recommended for dismissal. As used in this policy, conviction is defined as a finding of guilt, a plea of guilt, a plea of Nolo Contendere, or entering a Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program, whether or not there is a formal adjudication of guilt.

The laboratory may disclose test results only to the school operations manager. Any positive results which the organization justifies by acceptable and appropriate medical or scientific documentation to account for the result as other than the intentional ingestion of an illegal drug will be treated as a negative test result and may not be released for the purpose of identifying illegal drug use. Test results will be protected under the provision of the Privacy Act, U.S.C. Section 552 a et seq., and Section 503(e) of the Act, and may not be released in violation of either Act. The school may maintain only those records necessary for compliance with this order. Any records of the organization, including drug test results, may be released to any management official for purposes of auditing the activities the organization, except that the disclosure of the results of any audit may not include personal identifying information on an employee.

The results of a drug test of an employee may not be disclosed without the prior consent of such employee, unless the disclosure would be:
  1. To the school operations manager, who has authority to take adverse personnel action against such employee; To any supervisory or management official within the organization having authority to take adverse personnel action against such employee.
  2. Pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction or where required by the organization to defend against any challenge against any adverse personnel action.
Any covered employee who is the subject of a drug or alcohol test shall, upon written request, have access to any records relating to the employee’s drug test, the results of any relevant certification, review or revocation of certification proceedings as referred to in 49 CFR Part 40 of this Act. Except as authorized by law, an applicant who is the subject of pre-employment drug testing, however, shall not be entitled to this information.

All drug testing information specifically relating to individuals is confidential and should be treated as such by anyone authorized to review or compile program records. In order to efficiently implement this order and to make information readily retrievable, the superintendent shall maintain all records relating to reasonable suspicion testing, suspicion of tampering with evidence, and any other authorized documentation necessary to implement this order. Such shall remain confidential and maintained in a secure location with limited access. Only authorized individuals who have a “need to know” shall have access to them.

G.  Teacher Certification Standards

Certification Renewals
Professional staff members are required to maintain their state educator certification in accordance to Florida regulations. Staff members are responsible for the completion and submission of all applicable forms and fees for the certification renewals. Once a professional staff member has renewed their certification, they must provide a copy of the certification to their supervisor.

H.  Familiarity with Statutes, Rules and Policies

All instructional personnel are expected to be familiar with Florida statutes, State Board of Education Rules, and policies of the school, which have particular reference to their responsibilities as educators. When in doubt about the existence or applicability of any such statute, rule or policy, personnel should check with the school operations manager. Copies of Florida statutes and State Board of Education Rules can be obtained from county law libraries, courthouses in St. Petersburg and Clearwater and the Internet.

I.  Tutoring

No teacher shall receive compensation for tutoring a student who is enrolled in the teacher’s class during the regular school term. Tutoring is defined as reviewing curriculum that is taught within the classroom.

J.  Membership in Organizations

Membership in any organization shall not be a condition for employment by the organization.

K.  Professional Development Trade Hours

In an attempt to encourage instructional and administrative staff members to participate in outside professional development activities, the school agrees to offer Professional Development Trade Days [PDTD] to employees. Periodically throughout the year professional development days are scheduled, staff members may utilize accumulated PDTD so that they may not report to work on some professional development days, or be allowed to leave early on early release days. If a staff member wants to participate in a professional development activity outside of their normal work hours, and count the training as a PDTD, the employee will ask the principal for permission to attend the training as a PDTD. The principal has the discretion to allow or disallow the training to be used as PDTD. The principal also has the option to disallow specific professional development days to be missed by staff members if the offering on that day is important to the mission of the school.

L.  Reappointment or Non-Reappointment of Certified Personnel Not Under Continuing Contract

Teachers with annual contracts will receive notification annually if they are being asked to return the following school year.

M.  Responsibility for School Equipment and Property

The principal or school operations manager shall assess damage, loss, vandalism, or malicious mischief.

An employee who unintentionally damages or loses school property, including technology items, shall be requested, in writing, to restore or to replace any damaged or lost property in accordance with the value as determined by the principal or school operations manager, or in extreme circumstances the school’s board.
An employee who willfully damages, loses or steals school property, including technology items, shall be responsible for the payment or replacement of such damage in accordance with the value as established by the principal or school operations manager.  Legal action may be pursued by the principal or school operations manager as deemed proper to recover the amount of damages if the employee refuses to restore or replace the property.

Adopted: 02/06/2024