Code of Ethical Conduct for Nobles Employees in Relation to Students

Code of Ethical Conduct for Nobles Employees in Relation to Students


This Code of Conduct is intended to provide guidance to all adult members of the Noble and Greenough School community regarding appropriate interactions between adults and students. Although it is not intended to be an exhaustive list of expectations and prohibited behavior, it should serve as a reminder that the actions of faculty and staff should at all times be above reproach, governed by common sense, and taken with the best interests of the students and the school in mind.

General Principles

As employees of this teaching and learning community, we recognize that we have responsibilities and duties of care for our students. We understand and accept fully the trust placed in us by our students and their families. We recognize that learning occurs best when trust and a sense of security are systemic within our community.

In situations that raise concern about the wellbeing or safety of any member of our community, it is our responsibility to use the available resources of the school to address the situation urgently.

In light of the above:

  • We promote a culture of honesty and respect for self and others;
  • We pledge to nurture the wellbeing and safety of our students at all times, always to be focused on these interests, and ready to act on them;
  • We acknowledge that the inherent imbalance of power in our relationships with students requires us to maintain healthy and appropriate boundaries in all our spoken and written interactions with them, including digital communications.

Standards of Behavior

Employees should at all times act in full accordance with the General Principles stated above. It is not possible to create an exhaustive list of standards for behavior to cover every potential situation involving conduct with students. The following, however, are examples of behavioral standards to guide employees in that endeavor. When interacting with students, whether in person or otherwise, employees must at all times:

  • Be alert to the imbalance of power that exists in relationships between adults and students and never abuse it. The imbalance of power can continue after the student has graduated from Noble and Greenough School.
  • Establish and maintain healthy boundaries with students and refrain from any conduct that places the interests of the adult ahead of the student’s interest.
  • Conduct themselves as role models for the students.
  • Operate in a manner consistent with the mission and community principles of the school.
  • Adhere to all other standards of behavior and conduct as described in the Guide, Policies and Procedures Handbook, and as specified in the remarks of the head of school in the meeting with all employees at the start of the school year.

The following conduct by employees is prohibited:

  • Any sexual, romantic or dating relationship with students; any activity with students that could be considered sexual or romantic in nature; and sexual, romantic or unduly familiar behavior or communications (including inappropriate personal stories and history) with students whether in person or indirectly through the use of email, telephone, social networking or other media.
  • Engaging in, participating in or in any way condoning the use of alcohol or any other drugs illegal for use by individuals under the age of 21 by current students of the school (other than their own children).
  • Sharing or disclosing any information concerning a student, other than on a need to know basis, to any person not specifically authorized to receive such information. This includes, but is not limited to, information concerning educational assessments, test scores, mental or physical health, and family background or finances.


Compliance with this Code of Conduct and the expectations and policies contained in the Guide and the Policies and Procedures Handbook, is a condition of employment at Noble and Greenough School. Individuals who fail to comply with this Code of Conduct shall be subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.

It is the duty of every member of the Noble and Greenough School community to report all instances of suspected violation of this Code of Conduct verbally or in writing to a member of the school administrative committee, who then, it should be assumed, will share the report with the head of school (if the head of school was not the person initially so informed). If at any time a staff or faculty member is unsure of how to handle a situation and needs to talk that through, that person should immediately seek the guidance and assistance of the dean of students, director of counseling, school counselors, head of middle school, head of upper school, or one of the ombudspersons. Each of these persons, however, will explain immediately the limits of confidentiality in such cases and work with the reporting individual to ascertain what exactly happened and how to proceed appropriately to the next steps, as merited, in the reporting process.

Reports of complaints will be investigated. It is the duty of all members of the community to cooperate with any such an investigation. Although confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, every effort will be made to protect the privacy of those involved and limit the sharing of information to those who need to know.

Filing a false complaint, or providing false information in connection with the investigation of a complaint, is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Finally, employees and students who make good faith reports of possible inappropriate behavior or who cooperate with investigations are protected from retaliation. Any perceived retaliation should be immediately brought to the attention of either one of the ombudspersons or a member of the administrative committee. Any individual found to have retaliated against someone for reporting a perceived violation of this policy or Code of Conduct, or for participating in an investigation, shall be subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.

Other Resources

Employees should be familiar with the contents of the Guide and the Policies and Procedures Handbook for further information and policies that may be related, relevant or connected to this Code of Ethical Conduct in Relation to Students. This information and policies include, but are not limited to, those on:

  • Mandatory Reporting under Massachusetts Law
  • Acceptable Use Policy (pertaining to use of technology and digital resources)
  • Hazing, Bullying and Harassment
  • Whistleblowers
  • Ombudsperson Policy