Building an Off-Limits School

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As you’ve heard me say before, if you ask just one question of your child’s school, day care, sports program or place of faith, ask “What policies are in place to prevent child sexual abuse?” But don’t stop there: Ask to see the policies and also inquire about monitoring.

Courtesy of Treasureland Preschool, here is one example of what a Staff Handbook ought to include. At this pre-school, staff must sign off on the policies annually and attend a workshop. Parents also receive a copy.

  1. Treasureland Preschool adheres to a “no secrets” rule. Staff members should never ask children to keep a secret from any person. 
  2. Treasureland staff respect toilet-trained children’s privacy regarding toileting but monitor the bathroom area to prevent inappropriate touching of one child by another child.
    • Diaper changing is conducted in open areas in the classrooms.
    • During toileting/diapering, adults will use anatomically correct terminology.
  3. Treasureland staff is trained on appropriate and inappropriate touching of children.

Appropriate Touch

  • Child initiates hug/side hugs
  • High fives/fist bumps
  • Holding hands when appropriate (walking uneven ground, crossing street)
  • Comforting a child when hurt or upset
  • Physical contact should always occur in public, never in private

Inappropriate Touch 

  • Requesting or pressuring children to give hugs
  • Kissing children
  • Sitting children on an adult’s lap
  • Tickling
  • Patting buttocks, massaging shoulders/backs
  • Rubbing legs
  • Repeatedly brushing against a child’s body

Thank you to Treasureland Preschool in Denver and all of the organizations that are taking the time to implement policies, train staff, and monitor practices that keep children safe from sexual abuse.

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