Keeping Boundaries

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Information about Keeping Boundaries
Education

Published on February 4, 2008

Author: Stella

Source: authorstream.com

Safe Environment Training for Staff and Volunteers Keeping Boundaries:  Safe Environment Training for Staff and Volunteers Keeping Boundaries Diocese of St. Cloud Recommendations for Keeping Boundaries :  Recommendations for Keeping Boundaries Do not stay alone in a room with a child/youth unless there is a window permitting others to see in or the door is open. Do think before you act. Ask yourself how someone else might perceive what you are doing. If the child /youth leaves your room or other area and claims child abuse, a closed area with no visual access would leave little room for defense. Slide3:  Discussion Question… Do not stay alone with a child/youth … Discuss ideas on ways to meet with a student that can be Confidential but not put you or the youth at risk, e.g. far end of the lunch room, library, gymnasium…etc. Keeping Boundaries:  Keeping Boundaries Do not allow children/youth to become overly friendly or familiar with you. They shouldn’t be calling you by your first name or nickname. There is a difference between being “friendly” and being friends with children/youth. Boundaries between adults and young persons must be enforced. Insisting on proper titles is one way to keep boundaries. Slide5:  Discussion Question… Do not allow children /youth to become overly friendly… Reflect on what you like: How would you like to be addressed and how does this fit in your situation. Discuss your comfort level of using a title and practice using title for development of comfort. Keeping boundaries:  Keeping boundaries Do not engage in private correspondence with students. If you receive personal communication from a child/youth and the communication is not appropriate, keep a copy of the communication and do not respond unless you have received permission from a supervisor. It is not uncommon for a child/youth to develop “crushes” and try to communicate on a peer level. If one receives such communication, it is best not to respond and report the occurrence to one’s supervisor for everyone’s protection. Slide7:  Discussion Question… Do not engage in private correspondence … Discuss examples of situations that may come up. i.e. Example: RE Coordinator Tom receives a letter at home from Jane who thanks him for the extra help on her religion project. She says she thinks he is a wonderful teacher. What do you do with this letter? Example: Youth Minister Jim gets a bouquet of flowers delivered to his home from Jane and her mom thanking him for the extra help. What should he do about this? Keeping Boundaries:  Keeping Boundaries Do not visit children/youth in their homes unless their parents are present. Being alone with young persons can give an appearance of impropriety. Many accusations of sexual abuse are alleged to have occurred when adults were present in the home of a child/youth when parents were absent. In particular, if there is no one home other than the child/youth, it becomes a question of your word against the child/youth, if an allegation of misconduct is made. Slide9:  Discussion Question… Do not visit children/youth in their homes Religion Teacher Jane makes an appointment to visit Tom and his parents at their home because of serious concerns about Tom’s performance. When Jane arrives, Tom is there but not his parents. What does Jane do? Discuss. Jane invites Youth Minister Tom to her house to work on a volunteer project along with other students from class. What does Tom do? Keeping Boundaries:  Keeping Boundaries Do not invite children/youth to your home. For the same reason as the previous slide do not invite children/youth into your home unless other adults are present. Slide11:  Discussion Question… Do not invite children/youth to your home It’s nearing the end of the year and as a religion teacher you are feeling generous because it’s been a very good year for your class. You live on a lake and want to invite the children to your house for swimming and dinner. Is this all right? Youth minister Jane has not felt well and is home but there is a big event coming up at the end of the week and you think Tom needs some special help. You invite him to come to your house after school for an hour. Discuss. Which is a better situation? Two adults unrelated in home where students are present or a husband and wife? Keeping Boundaries:  Keeping Boundaries Do not transport students in your vehicle. Obviously, there exists the same problematic situation of an adult being alone with a child or youth. In addition, the adult may assume personal liability for any accident or injury. It can be very tempting to respond to a child/youth’s request for a ride home, but a better approach is to wait in an open area until transportation arrives. Slide13:  Discussion Question… Do not transport students in your vehicle Could two adults be in a car with students? Keeping Boundaries:  Keeping Boundaries Do not take the role of surrogate parent with a student. Educators, catechists, or volunteers should not take on the role of a parent when they are with children/youth. Slide15:  Discussion Question… Do not take the role of surrogate parent Example: Tommy loves to help Religion Teacher Jane after class. She likes him and after the project is finished plays a game with him. Tommy tells her about how lonely he is because Mom and Dad are always busy. What should she do? Keeping Boundaries:  Keeping Boundaries Do not give students your home or cell phone number without the permission and knowledge of your supervisor. While it is true that many numbers are listed in the phone book and are readily available, it is prudent to not give such information unless one’s supervisor is informed. In the event of an allegation of abuse, the giving of one’s personal phone numbers to children/youth can raise a specter of questions. Slide17:  Discussion Question… Do not give students your home or cell phone number Youth Minister Jane is working on a special project with five of her students. They are all busy people with extra curricular activities. The project is due in two days. Youth Minister Jane wants them to report to her on each step but there is no time to see them in the day. Can she give them her home or cell number? Keeping Boundaries:  Keeping Boundaries Do not communicate with children/youth from your home e-mail address. One should always communicate with children/youth from one’s school or parish e-mail address rather than a personal e-mail. Slide19:  Discussion Question… Do not communicate with children/youth from your home e-mail address Example: It’s a Saturday and Youth Minister Tom is on his computer working on a project for the church. An e-mail comes to him from Jane asking if she should turn her registration for a youth event in on Monday. What should Youth Minister Tom do? Keeping Boundaries:  Keeping Boundaries If you hire a child/youth to work for you, inform your supervisor. The reason for this is to avoid any situation of impropriety. Think about it. What defense does a person have if he or she drives home a babysitter and he or she alleges abuse? Slide21:  Discussion Question… If you hire a child/youth to work for you… Discuss different possibilities for hiring a student and the possibilities for boundary violations. Keeping Boundaries:  Keeping Boundaries E-mail and instant messaging are examples of the blessing and curse that technology brings. Teachers, catechists and volunteers must understand that there is no privacy on the Internet. The same boundary issues that must be respected in oral communication, must be respected in written ones, particularly when e-mail is involved. Ask yourself: Slide23:  How would I feel if this correspondence suddenly ended up on the front page of the newspaper or on the evening news? Ten Guidelines for appropriate use of e-mail:  Ten Guidelines for appropriate use of e-mail 1. Never use your home or personal e-mail account. 2. Always remember you are a professional not a child/youth’s friend or buddy. 3. Communicate only about matters that deal with school or religious education. Most especially, avoid any communication that might be construed as having sexual overtones. Do not reply to any such e-mail from a child/youth; make a copy of such inappropriate communication and notify your supervisor. Guidelines (cont.):  Guidelines (cont.) 4. Write as though you are certain others will read what you write. Remember a message can be shared with a simple push of a button. 5. Remember there is no such thing as a private e-mail. 6. Do not use instant messaging. Do not put students on your “buddy list.” Remember people can make copies of instant messages and they can come back to haunt you. Guidelines (cont.):  Guidelines (cont.) 7. Ask yourself: “If my supervisor or anyone asked to see this communication, would I be embarrassed by what I have written?” If the answer is “yes,” don’t send the e-mail. 8. Remember when you are e-mailing a child/youth, you are e-mailing someone’s child. How would you feel if your child received the e-mail you are about to send? If you think your e-mail might somehow be misunderstood, don’t send it. Guidelines (cont.):  Guidelines (cont.) 9. Remember - boundaries must be respected in written correspondence as well as in oral communication. 10.Finally, e-mail can be misinterpreted. Before sending an e-mail, ask yourself if someone reading it, might “read something into it” that you didn’t intend. Communicate in person whenever possible. Text messaging with cell phones can cause the same concerns as instant messaging (or e-mail) on the computer. Credits:  Credits This powerpoint was developed with permission from Mary Angela Shaughnessy , SCN, J.D., PhD. Based on her book: “The Law and Catholic Schools: A Guide to Legal Issues for the Third Millennium” National Catholic Education Association 2005 Who to call to report suspected abuse::  Who to call to report suspected abuse: Diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator: Thomas P. Keaveny, MSW-LICSW (320) 761-5963 Diocesan Victims Advocates: Rev. Tim Baltes (320) 251-4831 Rita Clasemann (320) 679-1593 Nancy Fandel (320) 685-7507 Tom Klecker (320) 253-2866 Rev. Patrick Riley (320) 650-1653 Dolores Sauer (218) 736-3592

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