Safety policy training script

The following is a suggested script for the safety training. The text in regular type is the text contained in the official safety policy. The text in italics has additional information the trainer may wish to give. At a minimum, make sure the trainees hear and understand all the text in regular type. You should have one set of four handouts printed out for each in-person trainee; if you are doing a Skype training, you should be sure each trainee can follow the training on the Web site.


Safety policy for legal minors:

During this safety training, you can follow along on your cell phone or laptop. Go to the following Web page: uucpa-cyre DOT org SLASH safety HYPHEN policy. Our basic safety policy is very short. it reads as follows:

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto (UUCPA) provides a safe environment for legal minors in our programs. To that end, we follow the child protection procedures and emergency procedures listed below.

The first sentence is our basic policy. The second sentence outlines what we’re going to do in this safety training — review the safety procedures you need to follow.

I/ Child protection procedures:

A. Annual safety training for all volunteers and paid staff working with legal minors

The Sunday school year runs from August 1 to July 31. Each year, as soon as practical in the Sunday school year, all volunteer and paid staff working with legal minors will complete an annual safety training conducted by the Associate Minister of Religious Education or by another person designated by the Board of Trustees. During the training, paid and volunteer staff will do the following:

1. Code of Ethics:

Please take a handout of the Code of Ethics. Or look at it on your device.

Paid and volunteer staff will read the “Code of Ethics” (see Attachment A), show that they understand the Code, have an opportunity to ask any questions about the Code, and then sign and date the Code.

Please read the Code of Ethics, but don’t sign it until I ask you a quiz question. [Then ask each trainee one quiz question from the following pool of questions:]
1. Should you become sexually involved with a young person in your care? [NO]
2. Should you use young people to fulfill your own needs? [NO]
3. Are young people vulnerable to inappropriate behavior by adults? [YES]
4. Should you engage in sexual or seductive behavior with young people in your care? [NO]
5. Should you engage in erotic behavior with young people in your care? [NO]
6. Should you have a social network outside your religious education responsibility? [YES]
7. Should you be willing to seek assistance when you become aware of a situation requiring expert help or intervention? [YES]
8. Should you verbally, emotionally, or physically abuse a young person in your care? [NO]
[If you have more than 8 trainees, repeat the questions.]

2. Mandated reporters:

Paid and volunteer staff will be given basic information about reporting suspected child abuse, and will be provided with copies of “Mandated reporters — Who are they, and what do they do?” (Attachment B). At the beginning of their employment, paid staff who are mandated reporters will be required to sign the form on the back of “Mandated reporters — Who are they, and what do they do?” and during the annual safety training, they will be given a chance to review that form, and ask any questions they might have.

Please review the mandated reporting information. If you are a volunteer, you do NOT need to read the second page, as that applies to paid staff only. If you are a mandated reporter in your professional life, you should check and see if you are also a mandated reporter for this volunteer position; please ask a supervisor at your place of employment for that information. If you are volunteer who is not a mandated reporter, my understanding is that the law encourages you, but does not require you, to report suspected abuse. If you suspect a minor in your care is being abused, you can report it yourself, or you may wish to tell one of the paid staffers who is a mandated reporter about the suspected abuse, and that paid staffer would then be required by law to report. Paid staffers who are mandated reporters on campus include all the child care workers, the Religious Education Assistant, and the Ministers.

If you are a paid staffer, and you are taking this training, we strongly encourage you to take the online training provided by the State of California, and we will pay you for the three hours this training typically takes. Please consult your supervisor about which state training would be best for you.

3. Review child protection procedures:

Paid and volunteer staff will review the child protection procedures they must follow, as described in the next section, “Ongoing child protection policies.”

B. Ongoing child protection procedures

All paid and volunteer staff will follow these child protection procedures at all times:

1. Two-deep rule:

Never be alone one-on-one with a legal minor behind closed doors. There should always be at least two adults and one child, or two children and one adult. (The only exception is for parents/guardians with their own children.) This is especially important in rooms without windows (e.g., bathrooms), and in cars for field trips.

So, for example:
a. When you are acting in your role as teacher, child care provider, or advisor, NEVER offer to give a ride home to a legal minor unless there will be someone else along AT ALL TIMES.
b. If you have to check a bathroom about toileting assistance, never go into the bathroom if you are going to wind up being alone there with one child. It’s best if children have buddies when they go to the bathroom. If you need to do a bathroom check, stand outside the door, hold the door open, and ask how things are going; if you have to go into the bathroom, make sure you have someone else with you.

2. Ongoing supervision of all volunteer and paid staff:

The ministers and members of the Children and Youth Religious Education Committee may enter rooms at any time to observe teachers. Parents/guardians are always warmly welcomed to visit and observe in classrooms at any time.

Note that while parents are always warmly welcomed into classrooms to observe (this include OWL classrooms), the teachers should set behavior expectations for visiting parents. The two most common behavioral expectations are: a. Visiting parents sit with the rest of the class, participate fully in all classroom activities, and are asked to abide by the class behavioral covenant; or b. Visiting parents sit quietly in a corner to observe, and they are expected to not talk among themselves, nor to use any electronic devices including texting and cell phone conversations (since we don’t allow young people to do so).

3. Getting-to-know-you rule:

Before serving as volunteer staff working with legal minors, volunteers must attend weekly services at UUCPA for at least six months, more frequently than once a month.

Teachers and advisors need to know this because sometimes we have enthusiastic parents who want to volunteer their first week here, and we need to tell them that they should get to know other adults in the congregation before making a volunteer commitment. A favorite tactic of sexual predators is to volunteer on their first day in a new congregation, so the Getting-to-know-you Rule is a way to keep innocent people from being accused of being a sexual predator.

4. Annual criminal background checks:

All paid and volunteer staff will agree to annual criminal background checks. Criminal background checks will use the service provided by our insurance carrier, and will be administered by the congregational administrator. (Note that paid staff may be required to undergo additional screening by other UUCPA policies.) Info on criminal background checks, with authorization form.

[Click through the Web page titled “Info on criminal background checks,” and read all that information to the trainees.]

5. Field trips:

On field trips, teachers will carry an emergency backpack that will contain at a minimum: permission and medical release form for each legal minor; basic first aid supplies; and other emergency supplies the Children and Youth Religious Education Committee deems essential. See Attachment D: UUCPA Permission form and medical release.

Place the permission forms in your attendance binder, and place the attendance binder into the emergency backpack. Make sure you take attendance at the field trip site, in case any young people join you at the site.

Emergency Backpack

[Show the photo above to the trainees: A sample emergency backpack, containing an attendance book (with permission forms inside) and a first aid kit — or show an actual emergency backpack.].


II/ Emergency and health procedures:

A. Annual safety training for all volunteers and paid staff working with legal minors

The Sunday school year runs from August 1 to July 31. Each year, as soon as practical in the Sunday school year, all volunteer and paid staff working with legal minors will complete an annual safety training conducted by the Associate Minister of Religious Education or by another person designated by the Board of Trustees.

Remember, you DO need to take the safety training EVERY YEAR.]

During the training, paid and volunteer staff will do the following:

1. Review emergency and health procedures:

Paid and volunteer staff will review the emergency and health procedures outlined on Attachment C, show that they understand the procedures, and have an opportunity to ask any questions about the procedures.

Please note that although the safety policy calls for “latex gloves,” we use nitrile gloves because of possible latex allergies. Please learn the correct way of taking off soiled nitrile gloves. We STRONGLY recommend that you practice taking off latex gloves the correct way — go ahead and use up some of our nitrile gloves, we have to buy them in bulk and they often go bad before we can use them!

Please note that there WILL be an emergency evacuation drill and/or an earthquake drill sometime during the school year. Don’t embarrass yourself! Know the drills! We would especially suggest trying an earthquake drill in class sometime, since most of of the failing grades during emergency evacuation drills have come during earthquake drills.

[If at all possible, you should walk the evacuation routes with your trainees during the training. For Skype trainings, make sure trainees click through to the evacuation route maps, and know their evacuation route. For classes which meet at night, please point out the locations of emergency flashlights, which will be needed for evacuations done in the dark. There should be an emergency flashlight plugged into an outlet somewhere in EVERY classroom, except Room 1, Room 2/3, and Room 7/8.]

B. Ongoing emergency and health procedures

1. Observe procedures:

Paid and volunteer staff will observe the emergency and health procedures set forth on Attachment C as needed.

[Distribute paper copies of Attachment C, or ask trainees to click through to the online version. The entire Attachment C is included below, to make it easier to run the training.]

C. Emergency and Health Procedures

For a PDF of this handout, click here.

Universal health precautions

There are at least two serious, basically incurable diseases which are spread by mixing of bodily fluids: AIDS and hepatitis B. Every classroom should have a first aid kit with a supply of latex gloves (if your first aid kit is missing, please notify the associate minister of religious education). For any activity which will bring you into contact with another person’s bodily fluids (child or adult) — changing diapers, putting on a band-aid, etc. — use those gloves. It may seem difficult to wait to put on rubber gloves before you comfort a child who has cut him- or herself, but you can learn to comfort children with words first, hands later. Daycare centers and preschools, and some other schools, have been using this policy for years, and you will find that children are quite accustomed to it.

To help you remember what to do, Sunday school teacher Greg Becker suggested this mnemonic device: “If it’s WARM, WET, and NOT YOURS, put on nitrile gloves before you touch it!”

If you give first aid to a legal minor

If you or another adult have to administer any form of first aid, including just putting a band-aid on a child, you must fill out the first aid reporting form titled “Ouch Report” (see below). Make two copies of this form. One copy of this form goes to the parent or guardian of the child, and a second copy goes to the Associate Minister of Religious Education, who will keep it on file (and the best way to get it to the MRE is to file it in the attendance book!!!). This form allows us to communicate effectively with parents/guardians, and keep a record of first aid.

Please note that we’d like you to keep these forms short and to the point — you don’t have to write a novel, write a haiku. So, for example, if a child fell and skinned their knee, you might write: “Child fell, skinned knee.” If you keep the forms BRIEF, it’s probably faster to simply fill out two forms, rather than walk to the photocopier to make a copy.

[Make sure the trainees look over a sample “Ouch Report, which is printed on the back of Attachment C.]

Emergency evacuations (such as fires)

Review the evacuation plans posted in your classroom so you know which door to leave from in case of an emergency evacuation. During an emergency evacuation, all Sunday school groups will assemble in the front play area (see your classroom’s emergency evacuation plan). We will assemble there to be out of the way of emergency vehicles such as fire trucks, so please stay within the fence.

Be sure to bring your attendance record during emergency evacuations! Once all the groups are assembled following an emergency evacuation, we will take attendance to be sure all children are out of the buildings. If any children are missing, we will immediately inform emergency personnel.

Parents/guardians will be informed of the assembly point for children during evacuations.

[For in-person trainings, I take all the trainees to their respective classrooms, make them find the emergency evacuation plan that is posted there, and then make them walk the primary evacuation route out to the front play area.]

[When I get to the front play area, I give them the following quiz question:]

Here’s a quiz for you: If you take attendance at the assembly area, and find that one child is missing, what should you do? A. Run back into a burning building to try to find the child, or B. Inform emergency personnel that a child is missing, and let them carry out a rescue? The correct answer is B — this is especially true because the fire station is about 2 minutes away, and emergency personnel will probably be here before you can even get your class out to the assembly point.

Note that there will be at least one emergency evacuation drill performed each year. This could be an earthquake drill, or a fire drill. Be prepared for either one — or for both!

For classroom evacuation plans, click here.


Above: When leaving the classroom during an emergency evacuation or a fire drill, be sure to take your class attendance book with you.


In case of an earthquake, follow these recommendations by the Federal Emergency Management Agency Web site:

If indoors: DROP to the ground;
Take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and
HOLD ON until the shaking stops.

If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building. Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.

Be aware that some earthquakes are actually fore-shocks and a larger earthquake might occur. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and stay indoors until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe. Research has shown that most injured occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.

Wait until the shaking stops, then gather at the assembly point, in the front play area.


PDF file of complete safety policy as passed by UUCPA’s Board of Trustees