Student Safety Policy

Last updated December 6th, 2021

As we work to accomplish our mission of providing high quality coding education to under-represented communities, student safety must always remain our highest priority. In order to protect students and the teachers interacting with them, this document establishes the following:

  1. Guidelines for OpenBrackets teachers
  2. A training policy for OpenBrackets teachers
  3. Steps that will be taken in response to a student safety incident

1. Guideline for Teachers

1 (a) Rules for teachers during teaching session

OpenBrackets teachers and teaching assistants shall follow these rules when interacting with students:
  • OpenBrackets staff, volunteers, and board members will comply with the Student Information Policy, including regarding storage of student information and recording of photos.
  • Teachers shall meet with students in-person or remotely only through OpenBrackets sponsored events and classes.
  • All interactions will take place through official OpenBrackets communication channels such that the interaction is accessible to other students, OpenBrackets teachers, staff, and/or board members.
    • For example, all video conferencing, such as Zoom, shall take place in the official OpenBrackets video-conference meeting that is designated for the event.
    • For example, all email communication will copy (CC) email to an official OpenBrackets email address, to which multiple people have access.
    • For example, communication on Discord must take place where other teachers and staff have full access to the conversation. Private DMs are not permitted.
  • Barring a technical emergency, teachers shall have their cameras turned on when interacting with students.
  • Dress Code: Teachers shall dress appropriately when interacting with students.
  • If teachers need to take a break, they should first notify the other teacher(s), then turn off their camera and microphone.

1 (b) Rules for teachers outside of teaching sessions

OpenBrackets teachers and teaching assistants must also follow these rules outside of a class session.
  • Teachers shall not correspond with a student privately through their phone calls, texts, or non-OpenBrackets social media accounts for any reason. All email communication with students must be using or copying emails to the official OpenBrackets email address, All inbound student emails to a staff member’s or teacher’s personal email must be forwarded to an official OpenBrackets email address.
  • Teachers shall not fraternize with students.
Exceptions to these rules can be made under certain conditions, such as when a teacher and a student has an existing familial relationship. In such cases, the teacher must notify the OpenBrackets board prior to the student’s first class session. However, exceptions to these rules must remain exceptional.

2. Training for Teachers

New OpenBrackets teachers and teaching assistants are required to read this document before they participate in a class session. In addition all teachers and teaching assistants must review this document at least once every subsequent year.

3. Incident Response and Remediation

3 (a) Immediate Response

If an incident is reported regarding a student’s safety, the following actions will be taken:
  1. The Board must immediately be notified of the incident.
  2. If the incident is serious enough, an emergency Board meeting shall be held as soon as possible. Otherwise, the incident will be discussed in the next Board meeting.
  3. The parents of all current students shall be immediately notified of the incident by email.
  4. The Board shall elect impartial members to conduct an investigation of the incident and produce a report.
  5. Teachers who are suspected or accused of inappropriate behavior will immediately cease to participate in class sessions and other OpenBrackets functions pending investigation.
  6. If the incident is serious enough, such as an allegation of abuse, the police or relevant authorities will be immediately notified.

3 (b) Investigation and Remediation

  1. Upon completion of the investigation, the parents of all current students shall be notified via email of the findings of the investigation and any actions that OpenBrackets will take in response to the findings.
  2. If the investigation finds that an OpenBrackets staff member is at fault, they may be dismissed from all further OpenBrackets activities.
  3. If the offense is found to be serious enough, and if the offender is currently employed in education or in a role where they interact with minors, OpenBrackets will notify the offenders’ employers of the incident.