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KNOW Summer 2014

www.gae.org | 21 I was told not to use the school’s computer to balance my checkbook. Legal? yes. The school’s computer is public property and it should be used only for legitimate, education-related business. You should also be concerned about privacy, or the lack thereof, when using the school’s desktop or laptop computer for any reason. Read your district’s computer use policy for guidelines regarding email, internet, and off-line work. If you are in doubt about a particular use, it is recommended that you ask questions ahead of time (e.g., is it okay to use the computer to work on my master’s degree after school hours?) and document your concerns—before it’s too late. I applied for a personal leave day to be taken in about three weeks during a regular work week. My principal emailed me back asking for the reason I’m requesting leave and that he would need to consider whether or not to grant the request. Is this legal? NO. State law OCGA 20-2-851 provides that educators may utilize up to three days of accumulated sick leave for personal or professional reasons upon approval of the superintendent or an authorized representative. The district may deny the request if the leave is in conflict with a local board of education policy concerning school days on which the presence of personnel requesting leave is essential for effective school operation—critical needs days. However, the district may not condition the grant of such leave upon disclosure of the specific purpose, nor shall approval be withheld or denied for refusal to disclose the reason(s). If you encounter problems, contact your GAE UniServ Director. Can local law enforcement arrest a teacher without an arrest warrant? NO. Georgia statute O.C.G.A. 17-4-40 requires that law enforcement obtain a warrant issued by a judge for the arrest of a teacher or school administrator for an offense committed while in the scope of his or her employment duties. GAE can provide legal assistance in defense of criminal matters that arise out of your employment. If you are confronted with this situation remain calm, and contact your local GAE UniServ Director or Legal Services for assistance. LIKE US ON FACEBook facebook.com/GeorgiaAssociationofEducators Need Help? Contact GAE ASAP! Your GAE UniServ Director (UD) is trained to provide you with the assistance you need. Your UD can put you in contact with our attorneys — specialists in educator defense. Find contact info for your UD at www.gae.org Do you have a legal question for our resident expert? Email your question to Mike.McGonigle@ gae.org. Please include your name, contact information, and GAE membership number. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible. For urgent matters, call GAE at 800-282-7142 or contact your GAE UniServ Director. The information provided is intended only as a general guide to employment rights of Georgia educators and is neither complete nor intended to provide legal advice on a particular problem.


KNOW Summer 2014
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