School of the Spirit Safety Policy (Updated January 2016)
1) Goal: To advertise that we have a safety policy.
Solution: Our safety policy will be posted inside the classrooms and on the website. The registration form will make note of the availability of these policies.
2) Goal: To provide clarity about bathroom policies:
Solution: Bathroom Policies
Nursery – The Early Childhood Teacher or helpers does not change diapers. Parents are called out from the service for diaper changes.
Preschool – We assume that children in preschool (ages 2.5 – 5 years old) are potty trained. Parents are called out of the service if there are any issues. We will install a potty seat to facilitate independent toileting by preschoolers. A teacher or helper will accompany the preschooler. We will install a whiteboard for cell phone #’s of Preschool parents as needed.
Kindergarten – Fifth Grade – Whenever possible, teachers of Kindergartners through Fifth graders will send children to the family bathroom for toileting during Sunday School times.
The teachers will watch the children enter and return from the family bathroom from the classroom door.
Third – Fifth graders are assumed to be independent in their bathroom habits unless informed otherwise.
If there are any bathroom issues for Kindergarten – Fifth Graders, a parent will be called out of the service.
3) Goal: To provide clarity about driving:
Solution: Driving Policies
We recognize two situations for driving for church activities: local and distance. In addition, we will continue our policy of not allowing one unrelated person drive home one child or youth without parental permission.
Local: Drivers will furnish a photocopy of their driver’s license and proof of insurance before driving children or youth to a local event, such as the bowling alley or Open Space Clean up.
Distance: Drivers furnishing rides for distance trips will follow the MDD YRUU driving guidelines, complete a Background Check and fill out the BVUUF volunteer application, which includes licensing and insurance information.
The following are prohibited for any adult when acting on behalf of the BVUUF Children and Youth religious education program:
- Possession or use of alcohol, tobacco, and/or illegal drugs (or be under the influence thereof) when involved in a BVUUF event or activity.
- Use of abusive, obscene, and discriminatory language at any BVUUF activity or event.
- Direct personal attack or harassment (visual, verbal, or physical) on another person.
- Behavior that is illegal, unsafe, or contrary to the highest standards of ethics.
- Be the subject of a criminal investigation or prosecution for a misdemeanor or felony offense.
4) Goal: To provide clarity about the end of Sunday School morning responsibilities of Parents and Teachers:
Solutions: Release Policies
Early Childhood Room: Paid staff will stay with the nursery babies and preschool children until a parent picks them up. Paid staff will supervise play on the tots playground during and after the services until a parent picks up the children. If a child is left during the times when the Nursery and Preschool are closed (10:20 – 10:40 a.m.) or longer than 20 minutes after the end of service, the staffer will bring the child to the parent.
Kindergarten through 2nd grade: Teachers will be responsible for the children in the K-2nd grade classroom until fifteen minutes after the service. Teachers are responsible for supervising their class on the playground before the playground monitors arrive, during class time. If children are not picked up by parents by fifteen minutes after the service, the teacher may release them to the playground monitors or bring the child to their parents.
Third grade and up: Teachers may release their children and youth on their own recognizance unless a parent tells the teacher or advisor otherwise. The parent will tell the teacher each Sunday that they wish for the teacher to supervise the child or youth until the parent picks them up of for the 15 minutes after the service. After 15 minutes, the teacher will bring the child or youth to the parent.
5) Goal: To make sure that these safety policies are relevant and used.
Solution: The Lifespan School of the Spirit Council will review the Policies once a year, or as needed. The DRE is responsible for the implementation of these policies during the academic year. The Sunday Summer Supervisor is responsible for implementing these policies during the summer when the DRE is off.
6) Goal: The prevention of child abuse
We believe in a safe congregation for all of us. Our first two principles in the Unitarian Universalist Statement of Purposes and Principles are: We affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We affirm and promote justice, equity and compassion in human relations.
Therefore… we do not tolerate child abuse within our church community.
To ensure this we…
- Have two adults at overnights and youth events.
2.Have a minimum of two child caregivers at special events.
- During times when 2 teachers are not present, the classroom door will be left open and/or the window of the door left uncovered.
- Teachers, advisors and staff complete a background check.
- We are familiar with how to respond to children’s disclosures.
- Do not allow disclosure from adult or older youth regarding their private sexual lives as part of a teaching or advising setting.
- Require volunteer teachers and advisors to be active participants at BVUUF for at least 6 months or provide references from related work before acting as an advisor or volunteer for children or youth.
- Do not allow a teacher or advisor to drive home a single, unrelated child alone without parental permission.
If a teacher or youth group leader suspects or is made aware of child abuse or has a concern about a child’s safety and well-being, this information should be reported as soon as possible to the Director of Religious Education, the Minister, or the President of the Board of Trustees, toward the possibility of a report to the Department of Human Services. The teacher or youth group leader will not contact parents, other teachers, or talk with other congregants about the report. The minister will be informed of any issues or actions that are taken.
7) Meeting place in case of fire
We will meet at the picnic table under the pine trees on the front lawn.
More information on handling emergencies at BVUUF can be found in the Safety: Handling Emergencies Document