Are Safe4Athletes Model Policy program right for School and Colleges? I see this as a real solution for troubled schools and teams.Written by Donna Lopiano
Coach/Employee Conduct Policies for School and College Athletics Departments
Every educational institution that is a recipient of federal funds must comply with a federal law, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which includes a prohibition against sexual harassment and include the obligation to have a Title IX Coordinator and widely distributed sexual harassment policies and procedures. This is an area in which the athletics department cannot see itself as operating in isolation. If anyone in the athletics department becomes aware of sexual harassment, sexual abuse or sexual violence of any kind, the case should be reported to the institution and handled according to established Title IX policy and procedures.
Why, from a “protection from harm” perspective, is it important for a local club to have policies defining prohibited behaviors, misconduct, etc.?Written by Katherine Starr
· The failure to have policies or prevention systems is, in itself, an action by the Club to take no action. In other words and for example, if sued by the victim or her/his family, a court would most likely say “The athlete was harmed by the Club’s failure to exercise reasonable care on behalf of the athlete by failing to adopt and administer policies that would have prevented the abuse suffered.”
Why should your club adopt Safe4Athletes or similar child safety and welfare policies and procedures?Written by Katherine Starr
- Parents want to know that a sports program is safe for their children. Having specific policies that address these issues will increase parent trust and confidence in club leadership, coaches, or ownership.
- Athletes can concentrate on their sports, without second-guessing their “gut feeling” that someone’s behavior isn’t right.
- Clear rules and a fair process reduce the Club’s risk from lawsuits that may be filed by dismissed coaches or the abused victim or her/his family.
- Many national sport governing bodies (NGB) do not yet require their Club members to have comprehensive athlete protection policies, and if they do, these policies may not address bullying or coach/peer athlete conduct that falls short of criminal behavior.
- Even when NGBs have processes that are applicable in cases of athlete sexual abuse, reporting and investigation procedures take a considerable amount of time and because the NGB is not the employer, the NGB in not in a position to address immediate suspension of an employee in the case of serious misconduct.
The local Club is responsible for the safety of its program participants and is obligated to take immediate action to remedy a hostile environment.
Why should your club adopt Safe4Athletes or similar child safety and welfare policies and procedures?
A: Coaches and athletes constantly engage in verbal interactions. It is the coach’s responsibility to use such interactions for instructional and motivational purposes. Emotional or verbal abuse of athletes should be expressly prohibited.
A: Sexual, intimate, romantic, or similar close personal relationships between a coach and an athlete should be strictly prohibited, even if that athlete is an adult, because creates the appearance or actuality of favoritism and special treatment. Examples of other inappropriate behaviors that should be expressly prohibited include:
A: Not unless the Athletes says Ok– only in these generally accepted ways - when correcting physical form for skill or strategy execution, injured or congratulating an athlete for a good performance. Always ask the athlete first. If it does feel ok, it isn't ok.
What prohibited behaviors are commonly included under definitions of hazing, initiation rituals, and physical punishment?Written by Katherine Starr
A: Athletic teams commonly justify rituals or behaviors as rites of passage for team or group acceptance. These activities commonly make the athlete feel humiliated, embarrassed, or devalued or may even threaten the athlete’s safety or dignity. Following are examples of activities that should be classified as hazing, initiation rituals, and physical punishment and be prohibited:
A: Sexual harassment is unwanted, often persistent, sexual attention and any other behavior with sexual overtones that make the athlete feel uncomfortable. It may include: