Protection of Minors Policy

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. Mandatory Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse
VIII. Addressing Reports of Child Abuse
IX. Enforcement   
X. Policy Implementation and Modification 


Appendix A: Signs of Childhood Abuse and Neglect

Appendix B: Training Requirements

Appendix C: Background Check Requirements


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

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.

Child means an individual under 18 years of age.

Child Abuse means intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly doing any of the following:

  1. Causing bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act.
  2. Fabricating, feigning or intentionally exaggerating or inducing a medical symptom or disease which results in a potentially harmful medical evaluation or treatment to the child through any recent act.
  3. Causing or substantially contributing to serious mental injury to a child through any act or failure to act or a series of such acts or failures to act.
  4. Causing sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any act or failure to act.
  5. Creating a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act.
  6. Creating a likelihood of sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any recent act or failure to act.
  7. Causing serious physical neglect of a child.
  8. Engaging in any of the following recent acts:
    1. Kicking, biting, throwing, burning, stabbing or cutting a child in a manner that endangers the child.
    2. Unreasonably restraining or confining a child, based on consideration of the · method, location or the duration of the restraint or confinement.
    3. Forcefully shaking a child under one year of age.
    4. Forcefully slapping or otherwise striking a child under one year of age.
    5. Interfering with the breathing of a child.
    6. Causing a child to be present at a location while a violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 7508.2 (relating to operation of methamphetamine laboratory) is occurring, provided that the violation is being investigated by law enforcement.
    7. Leaving a child unsupervised with an individual, other than the child's parent, who the actor knows or reasonably should have known
      1. Is required to register as a Tier II or Tier III sexual offender under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 97 Subch. H (relating to registration of sexual offenders), where the victim of the sexual offense was under 18 years of age when the crime was committed.
      2.  Has been determined to be a sexually violent predator under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.24 (relating to assessments) or any of its predecessors.
      3. Has been determined to be a sexually violent delinquent child as defined in 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.12 (relating to definitions).
  9. Causing the death of the child through any act or failure to act.
  10. Engaging a child in a severe form of trafficking in persons or sex trafficking, as those terms are defined under section 103 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (114 Stat. 1466, 22 U.S.C. § 7102).

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.

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

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.

Department means the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

Mandated Reporter means any faculty, staff (including student employees), independent contractor or volunteer of Franklin & Marshall College, regardless of their status as a mandated reporter as defined by Pennsylvania law.

Minor for the purposes of this Policy means any person under the age of 18.

Recent Act means any act occurring within two years prior to reportable information coming to the attention of a Mandated Reporter.

Staff includes all non-faculty employees of the College, including 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 College-affiliated programs involving minors, and are subject to some or all of the requirements of this Policy.  Those engaging volunteers should contact the General Counsel’s office to discuss their situation and how the Policy requirements apply.

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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 child abuse and promptly report whenever there is reasonable cause to suspect abuse, as provided in Section VII 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 VII).

College faculty and others on campus who only interact in classes or other normal academic settings with matriculated 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 has reasonable cause to suspect that a student under the age of 18 is a victim of child abuse must, however, make reports as required by Section VII.

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.

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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 child abuse.
  • Guidelines for protecting minors from emotional and physical abuse and neglect.
  • Requirements and procedures for reporting incidents of suspected abuse.

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 Appendices A and B.

In addition, certain individuals may be required to complete additional Child Abuse identification, prevention and reporting training in connection with their Commonwealth of Pennsylvania-regulated license or certification.  The College is not responsible for providing additional training in connection with these licenses or certifications.  

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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, as well as specific requirements and procedures for these 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.  Except when required by law, 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 and the requirements of Pennsylvania law.  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 General Counsel.

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VII. Mandatory Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse

This Policy governs mandatory child abuse reporting requirements in accordance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL), 23 Pa.C.S. §6301 et seq., and College policy which, in some instances, requires broader protections than the CPSL. Any questions relating to this Policy should be directed to the College’s General Counsel. 

1.  Emergencies

In case of an emergency, immediately call Franklin & Marshall College’s Department of Public Safety at (717-358-3939), or the Lancaster City Police Department at 911.

If a child is in imminent danger or a crime against a child is in progress, call 911 immediately.

2.  Information Triggering Mandatory Reporting Obligations

It is the policy of Franklin & Marshall College that all faculty, staff (including student employees), independent contractors and volunteers are Mandated Reporters, and must make a report as set forth in this Policy when there is reasonable cause to suspect that a Child is a victim of Child Abuse under any of the following circumstances:

  1. The Mandated Reporter comes into contact with the Child in the course of employment, occupation or practice of a profession, or through a regularly scheduled program, activity, or service.
  2. The Mandated Reporter is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the Child, or is affiliated with an agency, institution, organization, school, regularly established church or religious organization, or other entity that is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance, or training of the Child.
  3. A person (including the Child in question) makes a specific disclosure to the Mandated Reporter that an identifiable Child is the victim of Child Abuse.
  4. An individual 14 years of age or older makes a specific disclosure to the Mandated Reporter that the individual has committed Child Abuse.

Confidential communications made to an attorney that are subject to the attorney-client privilege, or made to a member of the clergy that are subject to the clergy-penitent privilege, are an exception to this reporting requirement.

The following additional points relate to the reporting requirement:

  • The obligation to report is triggered even when the Mandated Reporter has not come into direct contact with the Child in question, but learns information about the suspected abuse from a source other than the Child.
  • The obligation to report is triggered even when the Mandated Reporter is not able to identify the individual allegedly responsible for the suspected abuse.
  • Mandated Reporters must report the information made known to them, but should not conduct their own independent investigation.
  • The obligation to report is triggered regardless of where the alleged abuse occurred; it is not limited to abuse that occurred in Pennsylvania.  Likewise, Mandated Reporters do not need to be physically present in Pennsylvania to make a report. 

3.  Reporting Procedures

If a child is in imminent danger or a crime against a child is in progress, call 911 immediately and then complete the below steps.

To report suspected Child Abuse:

1.)  The Mandated Reporter must immediately submit a report upon receiving information supporting a reasonable cause to suspect Child Abuse.  The report must be submitted by filing an electronic report at or by calling ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313. 

2.)  If the report is made by telephone, the Mandated Reporter must, within 48 hours of making the oral report, file an electronic report at or file a written  report  on form CY-47, available at with the Children and Youth Services (CYS) agency in the county in which the alleged abuse occurred.  

A directory of county CYS agencies is available at  

If a mandated reporter encounters problems while attempting to file a report, he or she should contact the Office of the General Counsel at (717) 358-5963 or for assistance.

Please note:

  • In order to avoid the need for both a telephonic and electronic or written report, Mandated Reporters are encouraged (but not required) to submit the electronic report under (1) above in the first instance, rather than placing a telephone call.
  • Offices from which reports originate must  provide an electronic copy of all written and/or electronic reports, including confirmation receipts of these reports, to the Office of the College’s General Counsel.   

3.)  Immediately after submitting the report, the reporter must notify Franklin and Marshall College’s General Counsel, Pierce Buller, at (717) 358-5963 or of the report. The General Counsel, serving as the President's designee for purposes of this aspect of CPSL compliance, will assist in facilitating Franklin & Marshall College’s cooperation in any subsequent investigation involving the Department or law enforcement.  All College employees, volunteers, and independent contractors are required to assist the College, to the extent deemed necessary by the College, in gathering factual information related to the report.

4.  Failure to Report

Depending on the circumstances, a Mandated Reporter’s willful failure to report suspected Child Abuse may be subject to criminal prosecution as a felony or misdemeanor offense. Additionally, failure to report may result in disciplinary action taken by the College, including possible termination of employment.

5.  Immunity for Good Faith Reports

Pennsylvania law provides immunity from civil and criminal liability, and protection from employment discrimination, for individuals who have acted in good faith in reporting suspected Child Abuse, cooperating with an investigation and/or testifying in a related proceeding.

6.  Questions

Questions regarding this Policy or the reporting of suspected Child Abuse should be directed to the Office of the General Counsel at (717) 358-5963 or

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VIII. Addressing Reports of Child Abuse

If the College receives a report of alleged Child Abuse in a College-run or affiliated program or activity, the College reserves the right to take whatever steps it deems necessary or appropriate, including but not limited to:

a.  Taking 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.  Determining 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, notifying the parents or guardians of the minor involved.

d.  Investigation of the report in a way that meets relevant legal requirements.

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

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IX. Enforcement

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/or exclusion from campus.  The College may also take any 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.  All contracts with external contractors will include a requirement to abide by this Policy. 

X. Policy Implementation and Modification

Questions about the interpretation or application of this Policy should be raised with the College's General Counsel, 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: Office of General Counsel
Last Reviewed: August 2018