Children on Campus and Working with Minors Policy

13410.1 Purpose

Wright State University (the “University”) has an obligation to its students, faculty, staff, and visitors to conduct its operations and maintain its facilities in a manner consistent with the University’s commitment to the health and safety of all persons in the campus community.  The University recognizes that children are a valued part of our campus community and is committed to requiring appropriate supervision for minors who are involved in (a) University-sponsored programs both on and off campus as well as (b) non-University-sponsored programs held on the University’s campus.

Scope

This policy applies to all activities and programs in which minors will be physically present and participating, either taking place on the University campus or under the authority and/or direction of the University at other locations.

This policy also applies to visitors or guests desiring to use University facilities, who must provide to the sponsoring University unit satisfactory evidence of compliance with all of the requirements of this policy prior to the scheduled program or activity.

This policy does not apply to general public events on campus where parents/legal guardians are invited and are expected to accompany and provide supervision to minors in their care.

Definitions

For the purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Authorized Adult” means an individual, age 18 and older, paid or unpaid, who supervises, chaperones, or otherwise works with minors in University program activities or University recreational or residential facilities.  Authorized Adults include but are not limited to University employees, student employees, staff, volunteers, graduate and undergraduate students, interns, personnel provided by temporary agencies, and independent contractors/consultants.  The role of Authorized Adult may include positions such as counselors, chaperones, coaches, instructors, and other similarly situated persons
    .
  2. Campus” means all domestic real property owned or leased by the University.
     
  3. Child abuse” means physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or mental abuse, and neglect of a minor, all as further described in Section 13410.5 - .9 of this policy.
     
  4. Legal guardian” means any person duly appointed under applicable law to have the care and management of the person, the estate, or both of a minor.
     
  5. Mandatory Reporters” are a category of individuals defined by Ohio Revised Code § 2151.421, who include but are not limited to: attorneys, physicians, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and other health care professionals, licensed psychologists, licensed school psychologists, administrators or employees of a child day care center, administrators or employees of a residential camp or child day camp, administrators or employees of a certified child care agency or other public or private children services agency, school teachers, school employees, school authorities, and persons engaged in social work or the practice of professional counseling.
     
  6. Minors” are persons under the age of 18 who are not enrolled or accepted for enrollment at the University as a student.  The terms “minors” and “children” are used interchangeably in this policy.
     
  7. One-on-one contact” means personal, unsupervised interaction between any Authorized Adult and a single participant minor without at least one other Authorized Adult, parent or legal guardian being present.  Such contact is to be avoided by all adults on campus, whether considered an “Authorized Adult” under this policy or not.
     
  8. Parent” is the biological or adoptive parent, as recognized under applicable law, of a minor child, whose parental rights and responsibilities have not been terminated under the law.
     
  9. Program” means any program or activity that potentially will include minors as participants that is (a) offered by an academic or administrative unit of the University, whether occurring on University property or not, or (b) offered by a non-University group but will occur on University property or use University facilities.  This includes but is not limited to workshops, sports camps, academic camps, conferences, pre-enrollment visits, employment, and similar activities.
     
  10. Program participants” are minors who are involved in a University-sponsored program either on or off campus or in a non-University-sponsored program held on campus.
     
  11. Sponsoring unit” is the academic or administrative unit of the University which offers a program or gives approval for housing or use of facilities.
     
  12. Works with minors” means participating in any of the activities identified in this policy in which an adult has the potential to work with and/or be alone with a minor, unless the adult is the parent or legal guardian of the minor or is a person designated in writing by the parent or legal guardian as authorized to care for the minor.

13410.2 Policy

In order to maintain essential functioning of the University and provide for the safety of all minors on campus and/or participating in a Program, it is necessary to establish certain requirements governing the presence of minors on the University’s campus and/or participating in a Program.  The University will apply these requirements in a nondiscriminatory fashion and in a manner that preserves all Authorized Adults’ rights under applicable federal and state laws.

13410.3 Requirements of Policy Governing Presence of Minors on Campus

  1. All Minors
     
    1. All minors participating in a Program, as defined above, must provide a waiver or release form signed by a parent or legal guardian prior to their participation in the Program.  The parent or legal guardian must also provide a medical treatment authorization form on behalf of the minor.
       
    2. All minors participating in a Program must be supervised by at least two Authorized Adults at all times while participating in that Program.
       
    3. All minors participating in a Program are permitted in the University’s general use facilities (e.g., athletic fields, public spaces, academic buildings, food services areas, etc.) appropriate to that Program but may be restricted from certain areas of the campus or from utilizing certain equipment (e.g. storage areas, equipment rooms, offices, research laboratories, etc.).
       
  2. Pre-High School Age Children

    All minors 13 years of age and younger visiting the University campus, including the children of employees and students, must be escorted or supervised at all times by a parent/legal guardian or an Authorized Adult. It is the responsibility of the parents, legal guardians or other Authorized Adults to make appropriate arrangements in compliance with this policy.

  3. High School Age Children
     
    1. Visiting minors 14 years of age or older may utilize University facilities open to the general public, such as the library, University Bookstore, dining facilities, etc., as long as they meet the same standards of behavior expected of enrolled students as set forth in the University Student Handbook.
       
    2. When high school students under the age of 18, including prospective student-athletes, are participating in pre-enrollment visits to campus, the requirement for them to be escorted by two Authorized Adults will be waived.  However, such visiting students must adhere to the standards of behavior expected of enrolled students, as set forth in the University Student Handbook, as well as the “Conduct Requirements” set forth in Section 13410.4C. of this policy.
       
  4. Programs
     
    1. Each Program shall maintain an up-to-date list of all Program times and dates, locations, attendance information (names, ages and emergency contacts for Program participants), and a Program contact, so that in the event of an emergency, appropriate measures may be taken.  Each Program must establish a procedure for the notification of a Program participant’s parent/legal guardian in the case of an emergency, which might for example include medical or behavioral issues involving the minor or changes in the Program due to unforeseen and significant disruptions.  Parents/legal guardians of Program participants must also be given contact information which enables them to contact their child while a Program is in session.
       
    2. Each Program must provide adequate supervision of minors while they are on University property or otherwise participating in a Program.  All Program participants must be supervised by at least two Authorized Adults and/or by their parents or legal guardians at all times.
       
    3. Each Program must provide and supervise trained Authorized Adults.  Documentation that each Authorized Adult participating in a Program has taken the training required by Section II.A below (and completed the background check, etc.) must be maintained by a designated and identified member of the Program’s sponsoring unit, or maintained in the University’s Office of Human Resources.
       
    4. Each Program must establish a procedure for the pick-up and drop-off of Program participants, specifying times and locations.  No Program participant shall be released to any person other than his or her parent or legal guardian without prior written authorization that the minor can be released to an entrusted adult.  The Authorized Adults overseeing the pick-up and drop-off of Program participants shall remain at the specified location until all minors have been released to an entrusted adult.
       
  5. Minors Brought to Campus Not Participating in a Program
     
    1. Minors brought to campus by an employee, student, or visitor, and who are not participating in a Program, are the sole responsibility of the employee, student, or visitor.  The person bringing the child to campus is responsible for all aspects of the minor’s behavior and safety, and is financially responsible for any damages caused by the minor.
       
    2. Minors are permitted at events and venues open to the general public.  However, the University reserves the right to determine, in its sole discretion, whether selected events or venues are appropriate for unescorted or unsupervised minors.

13410.4 Implementing this Policy

  1. Training

    Each Authorized Adult, who is not the minor’s parent, legal guardian, or an entrusted adult of the parent or legal guardian, who will be participating with minors in a Program shall complete mandatory training in the conduct and reporting requirements of this policy.  This training for which Program sponsors shall be responsible for arranging, is given to maximize the protection of minors from abuse of any kind.  The appropriate vice president or area director may enhance and/or supplement the required training to better meet specific needs of the particular Program involved.
     
  2. Background Checks

    Authorized Adults, including but not limited to University employees, students, independent contractors and/or other volunteers, who are working with a Program covered by this policy must comply with the University’s Background Check Policy.
     
  3. Conduct Requirements
     
    1. All Authorized Adults participating in a Program covered by this policy shall at all times:
       
      1. Not engage in abusive conduct of any kind toward, or in the presence of, a minor.  For example, no Authorized Adult shall strike, hit, administer corporal punishment, or otherwise touch in any inappropriate or illegal manner any minor.
         
      2. Not possess fireworks, firearms, knives, or other weapons, unless being used for an officially sanctioned and approved instructional Program.
         
      3. Not transport minors, except as specifically authorized in writing by the minor’s parent or legal guardian.
         
      4. Not engage in the use of alcohol or illegal drugs, or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, during any Program.
         
      5. Not possess, have within reach and/or share sexually-oriented, unlawful or obscene printed or computerized or portable materials (magazines, cards, videos, films, clothing, smartphones, etc.) in any form available to minors participating in a Program covered by this policy, or assist them in any way in gaining access to such materials.  The sole exception would be a legitimate sexual education Program for which the minor’s parent or legal guardian has given prior express written consent to the subject matter.
         
      6. Not continue to participate in any Program if an allegation of inappropriate conduct in violation of this policy has been made against the Authorized Adult, until such allegation has been satisfactorily resolved and future participation in Programs is permitted by the University.
         
      7. Not engage in any activity prohibited by University policy or that the University, in its sole discretion, otherwise deems inappropriate.
         
    2. The behavioral requirements of this policy are not meant to preclude enrolled WSU students from developing appropriate friendships with minors who are close in age to the enrolled student; rather, the requirements are meant to protect minors from inappropriate contact and relationships.  Accordingly, the following behavioral expectations apply to Authorized Adults but shall not be rigidly applied to enrolled WSU students or to other unique circumstances that qualify for an exception under Section 13410.10 of this policy:
       
      1. Not have one-on-one contact with minors.  In general, it is required that two or more adult participants will be involved in activities where minors are present.
         
      2. Have separate accommodations from the minors.  An Authorized Adult should not enter a minor’s room, bathroom facility, or similar area without another Authorized Adult in attendance, except for emergency or compelling circumstances requiring supervision by an Authorized Adult, consistent with the policy of not having one-on-one contact with minors.
      3. Not take photographs or digital images of minors without prior permission from the minor’s parent or legal guardian.

      4. Not engage in private communication not pertaining to Program matters with a minor by email, text message or social media at any time, except when there is a clear educational purpose and the communication is consistent with the mission of the University.

      5. Not meet with minors outside of established times for Program activities.  Any exceptions require prior written parental or legal guardian authorization and must include at least two Authorized Adults.

  4. Third Party Programs Held on University Property

    Third parties sponsoring Programs involving minors on campus and/or using University facilities shall operate within the guidelines of this Policy.  It is the responsibility of the collaborating University department or unit to ensure that such third parties are provided with this Policy and commit to complying with same.

13410.5 Reporting Requirements

Any person who witnesses any form of child abuse, inappropriate conduct, or other violation of this policy shall report the incident in accordance with the requirements of Sections 13410.6, 13410.7 and 13410.8 set forth below.

Child abuse is defined as abuse to a child under 18 years of age in the form of:

  1. Physical Abuse: acts or omissions that cause, or fail to prevent, a serious physical injury to a minor.
     
  2. Sexual Abuse: rape, sexual assault, sexual imposition, molestation, incest, indecent exposure, or exploiting a child in a manner in which the child is used for gratification or sexual enjoyment by another person.
     
  3. Emotional or Mental Abuse: actions or omissions that have an actual or likely severe negative impact on a child’s emotional and behavioral development, including those resulting from persistent or severe emotional mistreatment.
     
  4. Neglect: a severe or persistent failure to provide for a minor’s physical, emotional or basic needs. However, it is not neglect if the actual or suspected injuries result solely from economic or environmental factors that are beyond the parent or legal guardian’s control.

13410.6 Mandatory Reporters

Mandatory Reporters must report to a municipal or county peace officer (e.g., city police or county sheriff) or a public children’s services agency if they know or suspect that child abuse has occurred or that a threat of such abuse exists, as required by Ohio law.  Mandatory Reporters located in Greene County, Ohio, should call Children Services at (937) 562-6600.  Mandatory Reporters with work or education assignments in another county should familiarize themselves with that county’s children’s services contact information.

  1. If a Mandatory Reporter makes a report to Children Services or the police/sheriff in accordance with this policy and pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code, then he or she must also report the incident to the Wright State University Police Department at (937) 775-2111 or, if the conduct occurred during a University program off-campus and that site has a standard of practice for handling such incidents, to the appropriate authorities for that location.
     
  2. A Mandatory Reporter making such a report should also notify the person in charge of the Program (unless the person in charge of the Program is a student, involved in the allegation, or unknown, in which case the matter should be reported to the Vice President for Student Affairs (for student Programs), the head of the academic or administrative unit of the University sponsoring the Program, and the Office of General Counsel).

13410.7 Authorized Adults

Authorized Adults participating in any Program covered by this policy shall report an incident of known or suspected child abuse, or the threat of child abuse, in two ways:

  1. Report the incident to appropriate authorities:
     
    1. If the Program is on campus, report the incident to the Wright State University Police Department at (937) 775-2111.
       
    2. If the Program is off-campus but the host facility/location does not have a standard of practice for handling such incidents, report the incident to the Wright State University Police Department at (937) 775-2111.
       
    3. If the Program is off-campus and the host facility/location has a standard of practice for handling such incidents, report the incident to the appropriate authorities for that physical location.
       
  2. Notify the person in charge of the Program.  If the person in charge of the Program is a University student, is involved in the allegation, or is unclear or unknown, also report the incident to the Vice President for Student Affairs (for student Programs), the head of the University unit/department under which that Program falls, and the Office of General Counsel.

13410.8 Allegation of Inappropriate Conduct

  1. Any other person not included in Section 13410.6 or 13410.7 above who knows or suspects that child abuse has occurred or that a threat of such abuse exists in connection with a Program shall report such abuse or threat:
     
    1. To the Wright State Police at (937) 775-2111 if the conduct occurred during a Program on-campus, or at a Program off-campus where the host facility/location does not have a standard of practice for handling such incidents; or
       
    2. To the appropriate authorities for the location, if the conduct occurred during an off-campus Program and that site has a standard of practice for handling such incidents.
       
    3. Any person who witnesses a violation of this policy that may not rise to the level of child abuse shall report the matter to the Wright State Police (or, if off-campus where the site has a standard of practice for handling such incidents, the appropriate authorities for that physical location) and notify the person in charge of the Program.  If the person in charge of the Program is a University student, is involved in the alleged inappropriate conduct, or is unclear or unknown, the incident should be reported to the Vice President for Student Affairs (for student Programs), the head of the University unit/department sponsoring that Program, and the Office of General Counsel.

13410.9 Other Considerations

  1. Individuals who witness or suspect child abuse or other inappropriate conduct should not attempt to conduct an investigation themselves or delay notifying the appropriate authorities.  Such actions could taint any appropriate criminal or administrative investigation and render evidence inadmissible.
     
  2. Authorized Adults should consider the safety of minors participating in Programs above all other Program requirements.  It may be necessary to remove minors from abusive or potentially abusive situations.  In such a case, the Wright State Police must be notified immediately.
     
  3. When an Authorized Adult or other person is alleged to have engaged in inappropriate conduct with a minor, that individual must discontinue any further participation in any Program until such allegation has been satisfactorily resolved and he or she has been given written permission by the University to participate again in such Program(s).  Resolution of the allegation will involve appropriate investigatory steps, and any written permission to continue participation (or participate in the future) in a Program must be coordinated with the Office of General Counsel.
     
  4. Upon receipt of any notification of alleged inappropriate or dangerous conduct or situations involving a minor(s), the Wright State Police will take immediate steps to ensure the safety of the minor(s) in question.  The Wright State Police (and/or other appropriate authorities) may initiate an investigation in accordance with all federal and state requirements in effect at the time of the incident, and will contact additional law enforcement agencies, emergency responders, and social service agencies as deemed appropriate and/or legally required under the circumstances.
     
  5. The Wright State University Police Department will report all incidents of alleged inappropriate conduct involving minors as required by federal, state or local requirements.

13410.10 Violations and Accountability

Individuals, entities, departments, units or Programs that violate this Policy will be held accountable for their actions or omissions under this and other University policies, standards of conduct, and applicable laws, including but not limited to:

  1. Volunteers are subject to reprimand or loss of volunteer status;
     
  2. Students are subject to disciplinary proceedings under the Student Code of Conduct;
     
  3. University employees are subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment, pursuant to applicable employee handbook and/or collective bargaining agreement procedures;
     
  4. Suspension or termination of the use of University facilities for a Program or other activities; and/or
     
  5. Criminal investigation and prosecution.

13410.11 Exceptions to this Policy

In rare circumstances, a situation may arise where, due to the nature of a work environment or University Program, strict adherence to this policy’s requirements may not always be feasible or the best practice for managing risk.  If a Program can justify an exception, in consultation with and with approval from the Office of General Counsel, and obtain written parental consent for the parameters applicable to the specific Program, certain requirements under this policy may be modified or waived.  Such waivers will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must be discussed and obtained in advance.

13410.12 Interaction with Other Standards, Practices or Requirements

Nothing in this policy is meant to supersede or replace the standards of practice of other entities in responding to child abuse, suspected incidents of child abuse or threats of child abuse.  Satisfying the requirements of this policy does not relieve a person from any other obligation(s) he or she may have to follow the protocols of another entity that may apply to a particular incident.  Additionally, individual University units maintain the discretion to impose safety measures above and beyond those required by this policy on Programs they sponsor, administer or supervise.