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Protection of Minors Policy

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Franklin & Marshall College's Protection of Minors Policy is relevant for faculty, professional staff, College volunteers, and students who supervise or work with individuals under the age of 18 in conjunction with their College employment or educational program.

Table of Contents 

I. Purpose
II. Scope
III. Definitions
IV. Guidelines and Responsibilities
V. Training for Those Participating in Programs and Activities
VI. Criminal Background Checks
VII. Reporting Potential Harm to Minors
VIII. Reporting: Additional Obligations for Mandated Reporters
IX. Addressing reports of Abuse or Neglect
X. Enforcement
XI. Policy Implementation and Modification

Appendices

Appendix A: Signs of Childhood Abuse and Neglect

Appendix B: Training Requirements (PDF)

Appendix C: Criminal Background Checks (PDF)

 


I.  Purpose

Franklin & Marshall College is committed to the safety of all individuals in its community.  The College has particular concern for those who are particularly  vulnerable, including minor children, who require special attention and protection.  This Policy establishes guidelines for those in the College community who may work or interact with individuals under 18 years of age, with the goal of promoting the safety and wellbeing of minors.

II.  Scope

This policy provides the guidelines that apply broadly to interactions between minors and College students, faculty, staff and volunteers in College-run or –affiliated programs, events or activities.  This policy also establishes requirements for non-College organizations and entities that operate programs or activities involving minors on campus, and College agreements with such organizations and entities shall reflect those requirements.  All Franklin & Marshall College faculty, staff, students, volunteers and contractors are responsible for understanding and complying with this Policy.  Appendices to this Policy set forth specific requirements and procedures and may be updated from time to time.

III.  Definitions

Abuse or Neglect of Minors for purposes of this Policy means infliction of physical or mental harm, abuse or exploitation or negligent treatment or maltreatment of person under age 18.  Sexual abuse includes engaging in or attempting to engage in the sexually explicit conduct, or exposing a person to pornography under the age of 18.

Campus for purposes of this policy means all building, facilities, and properties that are owned, operated, managed, or controlled by the College.  This also includes areas immediately adjacent to campus.

ChildLine is an organizational unit of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s  Department of Public Welfare, which operates a statewide 24-hour toll-free system for receiving reports of suspected child abuse and refers such reports for investigation and maintains the reports in the appropriate file.

Covered programs are College-run or –affiliated programs, events or activities that Franklin & Marshall College operates or sponsors or in which College students, faculty or staff engage through their College roles.  This term does not include programs or activities in which one may engage that are unrelated to one’s status as a member of the College’s faculty, staff or student body.

Programs or services that serve children conducted or provided by an outside entity or contractor on College premises or that are conducted or provided on behalf of or for the College are also covered programs.   Such entities/contractors must be required by contract to comply with this Policy, and to demonstrate that the appropriate screening and training in accordance to this Policy have been conducted prior to commencing services.

Minor for the purposes of this policy means any person under the age of 18. A Franklin & Marshall College student who is under the age of 18 but 16 or older is not considered a minor.

Franklin & Marshall College students who are under the age of 18 are treated by this Policy similarly to all other students for the purposes of their interactions with minors in College-run or –affiliated programs or activities and are subject to the requirements that apply to students 18 and over.

Staff includes those persons classified as professional staff (exempt and non-exempt).

Volunteers for the purposes for this policy are not members of the College’s faculty, staff or student body but provide uncompensated assistance to the College or College faculty, staff or students with College-run or –affiliated programs involving minors, and are subject to some or all of the requirements of this Policy.  Those engaging volunteers should contact the Human Resources Office to discuss their situation and how the Policy requirements apply.

Contractors are members of an external organization who the College has hired to complete a task or provide consulting services for the College.  This includes contracted services for Dining Services, Housekeeping, Bookstore operations, construction, etc.

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IV.  Guidelines and Responsibilities

When participating in College-run or –affiliated programs and activities, faculty, staff, students and volunteers must:

  • Always be vigilant in protecting the well-being and safety of minors with whom they interact on campus and elsewhere.
  • Review the informational material about the signs of abuse and neglect of minors provided in Appendix A.
  • Watch for signs of minor abuse or neglect and promptly report suspected instances of abuse or neglect, or violations of this policy or law, as provided in Sections VII and VIII below.
  • Before engaging in any College-run or –affiliated program or activity involving contact with minors:  meet the requirements of this Policy relating to training (Section V) and criminal background checks (Section VI); meet any additional requirements that relate to the specific program or activity; and determine whether they are a mandated reporter under Pennsylvania law (Section VIII).

College faculty and others on campus who only interact in classes or other normal academic settings with Franklin & Marshall College students under the age of 18 are not obligated to undergo the training or background checks required by this Policy.  Anyone covered by this Policy who knows or suspects that a student under the age of 18 has been abused or neglected must, however, make reports as required by Sections VII and VIII.

To the extent College faculty, staff, students and volunteers are participating in programs or activities run by a non-College organization or entity off campus, they should familiarize themselves with, and follow, the policies of the organization relating to interactions with minors and understand their legal obligations with respect to working with minors in the program setting.

Information about the signs of abuse and neglect of minors appears in Appendix A.

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V.  Training for Those Participating in Programs and Activities

College students, faculty, staff and volunteers who participate in College –run or –affiliated programs or activities involving minors must complete appropriate training.  At a minimum, training must include:

  • Basic warning signs of abuse or neglect of minors
  • Guidelines for protecting minors from emotional and physical abuse and neglect.
  • Requirements and procedures for reporting incidents of suspected abuse or neglect or improper conduct.

Training may be expanded depending upon the program or activity and the person’s role in the program or activity.

Non-College organizations and entities that wish to operate programs or activities involving minors on campus must provide documentation upon request to the College that all individuals who will be interacting with minors (and anyone who supervises such individuals) have received training that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of this section.

Specific requirements and procedures for training appear in Appendix B.

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VI.  Criminal Background Checks

Certain categories of individuals will be required to clear a criminal background check prior to participation in College-run or –affiliated activities involving minors.  The categories of individuals who must undergo background checks are listed in Appendix C. 

If the criminal background check reveals adverse information or unfavorable results, the College will conduct an individualized assessment using criteria designed to identify potential risk to minors.  A prior conviction shall not automatically disqualify a person from participating in a program or activity.  Except where required by law, criminal background checks of College faculty, staff, students and volunteers that are conducted pursuant to this Policy will be used only for purposes consistent with this Policy and will otherwise be kept confidential.  Records of background checks will be maintained separately from an individual’s personnel or student file.

Non-College organizations and entities that operate programs or activities on campus involving minors must conduct criminal background checks of their employees, volunteers, and representatives that meet College standards.  The College may request any additional information it deems necessary to meet the requirements of this Policy.

Programs that are discrete, occasional events, for which a large number of volunteers are essential, may elect to adopt measures and safeguards instead of background checks for one-time volunteers (for example, large athletic tournaments or clinics, community fairs, etc.).  The measures adopted must include requirements that the volunteers be working in public places, not alone with children, and be supervised by a background-checked person.  Programs adopting this method must have the approval of the Vice President for Finance and Administration.

Specific requirements and procedures for background checks appear in Appendix C.

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VII.  Reporting Potential Harm to Minors

1.  Emergencies

In case of an emergency, one should immediately call Franklin & Marshall College’s Department of Public Safety at (717-291-3939), or the Lancaster City Police Department at 911.

2.  All Other Reports of Known or Suspected Abuse or Neglect of Minors

Anyone participating in a College-run or –affiliated program or activity involving minors or a non-College program or activity operating on campus involving minors who knows, suspects, or receives information indicating that a minor has been or may be abused or neglected, or who has other concerns about the safety of minors MUST inform the Department of Public Safety immediately by calling (717) 291-3939.

The Department of Public Safety shall be responsible for, and have the obligation to immediately make, a report of the suspected child abuse to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s ChildLine (800-932-0313). 

Within 48 hours of reporting to ChildLine, the Department of Public Safety shall make a written report on forms provided by the Department of Public Welfare to the county agency in the county where the suspected child abuse has occurred.

The Department of Public Safety shall be responsible for notifying within 48 hours Franklin & Marshall College Vice President for Finance and Administration and the respective Program Director of the suspected child abuse, assault or neglect unless the Department of Public Safety believes that the Program Director is involved with the alleged abuse. 

The Department of Public Safety, with support from other appropriate offices as necessary, will help to determine appropriate next steps.   In the event the issue involves a member of the Department of Public Safety, the Vice President for Finance and Administration will take the lead and determine next steps.

In addition to satisfying the reporting expectations of this policy, nothing prohibits College faculty, staff, students and volunteers or any other individual from making a report directly to ChildLine (800-932-0313).

The College prohibits retaliation against any person who in good faith makes or participates in making a report of child abuse or neglect under this Policy.  The College also prohibits the intentional filing of a false report of abuse or neglect.

3.  Questions

Questions about one’s obligations or what one should do in a situation that makes one uncomfortable should be raised with the Vice President for Finance and Administration.

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VIII.  Reporting:  Additional Obligations for Mandated Reporters

In addition to the reporting obligations for all College Faculty and Staff for Title IX, Title VII and Clery purposes,  those participating in programs involving minors and other certain individuals are mandated reporters who have additional obligations under Pennsylvania law.

1.  Mandated Reporters and Their Legal Obligations

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania law designates individuals in certain occupations and professions as mandated reporters.  Mandated reporters must report known or suspected mental or physical abuse or neglect of a known child to them in their professional or official capacity to any of the following agencies:  The Department of Public Safety, the Lancaster City Police Department at 911 or the ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.  The ChildLine is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Individuals who are required to report by law must make these reports immediately by phone and in writing within forty-eight hours.  Additionally, employees may also need to fulfill mandated reporting obligations related to sexual misconduct and Title IX, and should consult the relevant policy for details. 

2. Mandated Reporters Under Pennsylvania Law:

Mandated reporters include, but are not limited to, physicians, medical examiners, dentists, optometrists, nurses, hospital personnel, members of the clergy, K-12 school administrators and teachers, social service workers, day-care workers, child care or foster care workers, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officials.  College faculty, staff or students who are working with minors in their professional or official capacity and who have questions about whether they may be considered mandated reporters under Pennsylvania law should contact the Office of Human Resources.

Even those who are not mandated reporters must report known or reasonably suspected child abuse to the Department of Public Safety, Lancaster City Police or ChildLine or all three.

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IX.  Addressing reports of Abuse or Neglect

A.  Whenever the College receives a report of alleged abuse or neglect of a minor in a College-run or –affiliated program or activity:

1.  The person receiving the report shall immediately notify the Vice President for Finance and Administration even if they believe that Vice President has already been notified.

2.  The Vice President for Finance and Administration, in consultation with the Department of Public Safety, and appropriate senior College leadership, shall:

a.  Take immediate steps to prevent further harm to the alleged victim or other minors, including, where appropriate, removing the allege abuser from the program or activity or limiting his or her contact with minors pending resolution of the matter.

b.  Determine whether the Department of Public Safety, Lancaster City Police Department or ChildLine, or all three have already been notified and, if not, whether such notification is required or appropriate given the circumstances.

c.  If the parents or guardians of the alleged victim have not been notified and are not the alleged abusers, notify the parents or guardians of the minor involved.

d.  Investigate the report and resolve the matter in a way that safeguards minors, protects the interests of victims and reporters, affords fundamental fairness to an accused member of the community, and meets relevant legal requirements.

e. Facilitate the College’s cooperation with any investigation conducted by the Department of Public Safety, Lancaster City Police, or other governmental agency.

B.  Whenever a report alleges that someone involved in a non-College program or activity on campus that is not a member of the College faculty, staff or student body has abused or neglected a minor, the person receiving the report shall immediately notify the Vice President for Finance and Administration even if they believe Vice President has already been notified.  The Vice President for Finance and Administration, in consultation with the Department of Public Safety, legal counsel and appropriate senior College leadership, shall coordinate with the non-College organization or entity as necessary to see that the requirements of Part 2.A of this Section are accomplished.

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X.  Enforcement

All contracts with external contractors will include a requirement to abide by this policy.  Sanctions for violations of this policy will depend on the circumstances and the nature of the violation, but may include the full range of available College sanctions including suspension, dismissal, termination, and, where appropriate, exclusion from campus.  The College may also take the necessary interim actions before determining whether a violation has occurred.  The College may terminate the relationships or take other appropriate actions against non-College entities that violate this Policy.

XI.  Policy Implementation and Modification

Questions about the interpretation or application of this Policy should be raised with the Vice President for Finance and Administration, which shall update or modify the Appendices to the Policy as necessary and administer and oversee the implementation of the Policy in a manner that best achieves its goals.  The Policy may be modified and approval of the College President to reflect the changes in the law, standards relating to the protection of minors, or College processes, or as otherwise necessary.

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Policy Maintained by: Human Resources, Director

Last Reviewed: May 9, 2013