Code of Ethical Conduct


This Code of Conduct is intended to provide guidance to all members of the Hotchkiss 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 learning and teaching community, we recognize that we have special 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 in a boarding school when trust and a sense of security are systemic within our community.

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

In light of the above:

We promote a culture of dignity and respect within our community;

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 boundaries in our interactions with them. In the behavioral domain, we adhere strictly to those sections of the Employee Handbook, especially but not only the prohibition on all forms of sexual or romantic contact, that have always been explicit about such interactions;

In the verbal domain, we observe appropriate boundaries in spoken and written, including electronic, communication. In this last regard, we acknowledge and uphold the specific clauses of the Acceptable Use Policy that refer specifically to electronic communication.

Standards of Behavior

Employees should at all times act in 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 are examples of behavioral standards to help guide employees when engaging with students.

When interacting with students, whether in person or otherwise, employees must at all times:

  1. Be alert to the imbalance of power that exists in relationships between adults and students and never abuse it. This imbalance can continue after the student has graduated from The Hotchkiss School.
  2. Establish and maintain healthy boundaries with students and refrain from any conduct that places the interests of the adult ahead of the student’s interests.
  3. Conduct themselves as role models for the students.
  4. Operate in a manner consistent with the mission of the school and which reflects well on the school.
  5. Set appropriate limits with students and encourage their growth, learning and autonomy.
  6. Refer students in need of counseling or other health services or attention to the appropriate professional.

The following conduct by employees is prohibited:

  1. Any sexual, romantic or dating relationship with students; any activity with students that could be considered sexual or romantic in nature; or any 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.
  2. Engaging in, participating in or condoning in any way the use of alcohol or illegal drugs by students.
  3. 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, grades, behavior, mental or physical health, and family background or finances.


Compliance with this Code of Conduct and the expectations and policies contained in theHotchkiss Employee Handbook is a condition of employment at The Hotchkiss 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 Hotchkiss School community to report any and all instances of suspected violation of this Code of Conduct. Such reports should be promptly made directly to the Community Conduct Council, or a member of it, verbally or in writing. Employees should not hesitate to raise questions about whether conduct or concerns regarding the appropriateness of behavior should be reported directly to the Community Conduct Council.

Reports or complaints will be investigated. It is the duty of all members of the community to cooperate with any 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 have a need to know.

Filing a false complaint, or providing false information in connection with the investigation of a complaint, is grounds for disciplinary action.

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 immediately be brought to the attention of the Community Conduct Council. Any individual found to have retaliated against someone for reporting a perceived violation of this policy, or participating in an investigation, shall be subject to discipline.