HSTA Petitions Ethics Commission
Message to Members from HSTA, August 27, 2015
We wanted to let you know that the HSTA has filed a Petition for Declaratory Order with the Hawai‘i State Ethics Commission (EC). This Petition is in regards to the EC’s memo stating that State Ethics Code prohibits Department of Education (DOE) teachers and other state employees from accepting free travel and other benefits from tour companies while serving as chaperones on student educational trips.
Every year, dozens of schools offer educational trips to their students and many have already started to plan and fundraise for upcoming trips. Our members dedicate personal time and resources to coordinate, chaperone and plan curriculum, often times supervising students in other cities and countries for 24 hours, for as long as the trip lasts. We believe that the decision by the EC is detrimental to our students, and we are exploring all legal options including the filing of today’s Petition.
We will continue to keep you posted on any updates regarding this matter, and if it will impact school trips moving forward.
SA: HSTA files Ethics Commission petition over chaperones on school trips
SA: Field trip advisory appealed
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State Ethics Commission issues Advisory Opinion explaining application of State Ethics Code to free travel offered to teachers from tour companies
ADVISORY OPINION NO. 2015-1
From Hawaii State Ethics Commission August 26, 2015
The Hawaii State Ethics Commission (“Commission”) has learned that it is a longstanding practice for Department of Education (“DOE”) teachers and other DOE employees (collectively, “teachers”) who serve as chaperones on student educational trips to be offered free travel and other benefits from tour companies through which the teachers plan and organize these trips.
The State Ethics Code, Chapter 84, Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”), prohibits teachers from accepting free travel and other benefits from tour companies for serving as chaperones on student educational trips, where the teachers are directly involved in planning a trip and selecting a tour company to help organize the trip, promoting the trip to students and their parents, deciding who will chaperone the students, and/or requesting DOE approval of the trip....
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