Standards For All School Workers Regarding Interaction With Youth
- School workers must be aware of their own and others’ vulnerability to appearance or perception of impropriety when working alone with youth. At all times, School workers should, therefore, use a team approach to managing youth activities. At least two adults (preferably a team of several adults) will organize and supervise youth activities.
- Except in an emergency or urgent circumstances involving the youth’s safety, School workers shall never be alone with a youth during any school activity or setting. For example, adults should avoid situations that put them in a position of being alone with a minor in a rectory, parish building, school, or other closed room (except as required for the Sacrament of Reconciliation).
- School workers will observe careful boundaries concerning any type of physical contact with youth. Beyond a simple handshake or a friendly, brief hug, any physical contact should only take place in public circumstances, and prudent discretion and respect should be applied by School workers in order to avoid any appearance of impropriety.
- Clergy and religious shall never permit a youth to stay overnight in their private accommodations or residence nor shall clergy or religious ever be permitted to share a room overnight with a youth. An exception can be made in the case of immediate family members of the clergy or religious, provided that a parent or adult guardian of the youth also stays overnight and that separate accommodations are provided for the youth and his or her parent or adult guardian.
- School workers will not provide shared, private, overnight accommodations for individual youths, including, but not limited to, accommodations in any Church-owned facility, private residence, hotel room, or any other place where there is no other adult supervision present.
- School workers will use a team approach to managing emergency situations. A team of adults will consult with each other about the best approach to take in emergency situations.
- School workers are prohibited from taking youth home or to another location unless another adult is present in the vehicle or the parent/guardian of the youth has given express prior permission. School workers likewise shall not permit other adults to take a youth home or to another location, unless at least two adults will be present in the vehicle or the parent/guardian of the youth has given express prior permission.
- School workers shall not give gifts to a specific youth under their care or supervision unless a gift is given to all other youth under their care, and even in such situations, any such gifts shall be modest, inexpensive tokens of friendship or appreciation. This provision shall not be construed from precluding clergy and religious from giving gifts to youth who are members of their immediate families, such as nieces and nephews.
- School workers will familiarize themselves with, and understand the contents of, the child abuse regulations and reporting requirements for the State of California, and will comply with those mandates. School workers shall also complete, in a timely manner, any safe environment and/or youth protection training required of them.
- School workers shall take all necessary action to ensure that no one working with youth is either in possession of illegal drugs or under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. School workers shall take all necessary action to ensure that youth under their care or supervision do not have access to illegal drugs or alcohol. School workers may never serve or supply alcohol to youth or adults under the age of 21. Persons under 21 may, of course, partake of both species of the Eucharist, including the Precious Blood, according to the norms of canon law.
(Taken from the Code of Pastoral Conduct approved by the Bishop and implemented within the Diocese of Sacramento)