Code of Conduct
All adults employed by Maret School – without exception – are considered part of the “faculty.” We all have different roles and responsibilities; however, each employee is responsible for “teaching” and for respecting our students. Everyone is expected to fulfill the School’s Mission and support our Philosophy Statement.
Every employee should understand that, as covered in more detail by the Maret Faculty Resource Guide:
- The best interest of students should always be our highest priority;
- Adults should set appropriate limits and maintain healthy boundaries in their relationships with both students and co-workers;
- Maret employees should be solid role models;
- It is never acceptable for Maret employees to have sexual or romantic relationships with students, use alcohol or drugs of any kind with students, or partake in any illegal conduct; and
- Maret employees should immediately communicate any concerns about misconduct or conduct that is inconsistent with these standards to the Head of School’s office.
Every employee is required to read the Maret Faculty Resource Guide and is trained annually about appropriate boundaries and responsibilities.
The well-being of every child in the Maret community is the School's most important priority. Therefore, every Maret employee must know about – and understand – that the law requires suspected child abuse (including sexual abuse) or neglect to be reported to the appropriate authorities.
- If you have actual knowledge – or even reasonable cause to suspect – that a child known to you in your professional or official capacity has been or is in immediate danger of being a mentally or physically abused or neglected child then the law requires you to immediately report that information to Head of School Marjo Talbott.
- If you know – or even have reasonable cause to suspect – that a child known to you in your professional or official capacity has been or is in immediate danger of being the victim of sexual abuse or attempted sexual abuse. This includes learning after the fact that a student under the age of 20 had a sexual relationship with an employee of the School; then the law requires you to immediately report that information to Head of School Marjo Talbott.
- If you know – or even have reasonable cause to suspect – that a child known to you in your professional or official capacity was assisted, supported, caused, encouraged, commanded, enabled, induced, facilitated, or permitted to become a prostitute or has an injury caused by a bullet or has an injury caused by a knife or other sharp object which has been caused by other than accidental means then the law requires you to immediately report that information to Head of School Marjo Talbott.
- If Marjo Talbott is not available, then you should make your report to Assistant Head of School Susan Epps. If Susan is not available report to Assistant Head for Finance & Operations Bill Hodgetts.
- If for any reason you are concerned about Head of School Marjo Talbott's involvement with children, you should contact the President of the Board of Trustees.
- You should know that the law protects any person who participates in good faith in the making of a required report, by providing immunity from civil or criminal liability with respect to the making of the report.
- Once you have made your report, Head of School Marjo Talbott or her designee will promptly notify the appropriate legal authorities. Marjo Talbott will confirm with you that the authorities have been notified so that you will know that the report has been made and so that you can feel confident that the law is being followed to the letter.
Please keep in mind the following:
- You may have questions about what exactly constitutes “mental abuse,” “physical abuse,” “neglect,” “sexual abuse,” “attempted sexual abuse,” etc. Copies of the relevant laws are available in both the Main Office and the Business Office.
- It is our moral and legal obligation to protect children from abuse and neglect. It is not always easy to know what is the right thing to do. Remember – we should always err on the side of doing what is best for children.
- The families of victims – or even the victims themselves – may ask you to let them keep private an incident of abuse. Doing so, however, risks allowing the abuser to victimize other children. That is why reporting is mandatory and not optional.
- You may not avoid the mandatory reporting obligation on the grounds that the victim has asked you to maintain confidentiality. The laws of the District of Columbia penalize the willful failure to make a required report by a fine of not more than $300 or imprisonment for not more than 90 days or both.
Additional resources are available at the DC Child and Family Services Agency.
Maret's work toward preventing abuse is comprehensive and ongoing, and we hold our faculty to the highest standards:
- All Maret employees are trained to maintain appropriate boundaries with children. Our Faculty Resource Guide and our Crisis Procedures (on this page) establish these boundaries clearly and state that the School WILL report any possible abuse.
- We bring in outside experts annually to run faculty workshops about abuse prevention, so that even a rumor can be dealt with properly and swiftly.
- We commission background checks on all employees hired to work at the School, and continue background checks after they are hired.
- We teach students and faculty how to identify and stop an abusive situation before it happens; what predatory behavior looks like; and how to help a friend if you are aware of any unsafe conduct.
- Our school Counselors are well-known to all students and operate in an environment in which asking for help is encouraged.
School Response to Bullying/Harassment
Bullying/harassment behavior includes physical or verbal threats, teasing, or intimidation that occurs repeatedly over time and that humiliates, degrades, or otherwise damages a student’s physical, emotional, or psychological well-being.
Everyone in the Maret community is expected to address issues of bullying/harassment—verbal, physical, sexual, or electronic—in a timely manner, either by confronting the bully/harasser in question directly or by seeking help and guidance from a knowledgeable and trusted adult. The School is committed to a thorough investigation of bullying/harassment issues and will address these issues directly.
When a situation comes to our attention that a Maret student may have been bullied or harassed by another student, we will follow the following steps:
1. The situation should be brought to the attention of the appropriate Division Director, who will be in charge of an immediate investigation to determine the facts. S/he will talk with the teachers of the students involved, talk to the student(s) who felt harassed or bullied, and talk with others who may have witnessed the situation.
2. If the situation is serious, the Division Director will notify Marjo Talbott, Head of School, and LaNaadrian Easterling, Director of Counseling.
3. The parents of both the child who felt compromised, as well as the child who may have been the harasser, will be called and informed of what the School is doing and possible actions. If appropriate, we will have face-to-face meetings with the families.
4. Once the facts are determined, the School will take action which may include:
- written apologies,
- meetings with the children together with a teacher, and
- other consequences, such as suspension or required outside psychological evaluation and counseling.
6. The Division Director will set expectations moving forward, which will include a close monitoring that the behavior has stopped. There will also be a thorough report added to the student’s file in both the division director’s office and the main office.
7. Should expectations be broken, the process will begin again, recognizing that there is now a continuing pattern of behavior, and more serious consequences will follow.A proactive approach to bullying/harassment is taken through the social curriculum and Human Development classes. Students learn to recognize and mobilize against bullying behavior.