Child Protection Policy
Surprise Scholé Academy
Child Protection Policy
General Purpose Statement
Surprise Scholé Academy seeks to provide a safe and secure environment for the children who participate in our programs and activities. Our goal is to protect the children of Surprise Scholé Academy from incidents of misconduct or inappropriate behavior while also protecting our workers and parents/adults from false accusations.
For purposes of this policy, the terms “child” or “children” include all persons under the age of eighteen (18) years. The term “worker” includes both paid and unpaid persons who work with children. The term “parent” means parents or legal guardians of Surprise Scholé Academy students. The term “adult” refers to other adults (i.e.: grandparents of students) who may be on campus.
Requirements for Parents, Other Adults & Childcare Workers
Families wishing to participate in programs and activities of Surprise Scholé Academy will be screened. This screening includes the following:
a) Family Application
All persons seeking to join Surprise Scholé Academy must complete and sign a written application in a form to be supplied by us. The application will request basic information from the applicant and will inquire into church membership, home school philosophy, and general information. The family application form will be maintained on file at the Surprise Scholé Academy.
b) Personal Interview
Upon completion of the family application, an interview may be scheduled with the applicant to discuss the family application. This interview will be conducted by no fewer than two board members.
c) Criminal background check required.
Requirements for Childcare Workers
All persons who desire to work with the children participating in our programs and activities will be screened. This screening includes the following:
a) Written Application
All persons seeking a paid position in our Little Learner’s classroom must complete and sign a written application in a form to be supplied by us. The application will request basic information from the applicant and will inquire into previous experience with children, reference and employment information, as well as disclosure of any previous criminal convictions. The application form will be maintained in confidence on file at the Surprise Scholé Academy.
b) Personal Interview
Upon completion of the application, an interview may be scheduled with the applicant to discuss his/her suitability for the position. This interview will be conducted by no fewer than two board members.
c) Reference Checks
Before an applicant is permitted to work with children, at least two of the applicants’ references will be checked. It is preferable that these references be of an institutional nature as opposed to personal or family references, preferably from organizations where the applicant has worked with children in the past, however the age of the applicant will be considered in determining the suitability of references provided. Documentation of the reference checks will be maintained in confidence on file with Surprise Scholé Academy.
d) Criminal background check required.
Criminal Background Check
A national criminal background check is required for all parent members of Surprise Scholé Academy (regardless of position), childcare workers, and all other adults who will be present on campus for the purpose of participation in SSA three (3) or more days (not counting Symposium days) per academic year. Parents and other adults are required to obtain their own background checks and provide a copy to Surprise Scholé Academy. Parent background checks must be submitted no later than August 1st of the academic year. All background checks must be up-to-date and not more than two years old at the time of submission. A disqualifying offense that will keep an individual from working with children will be determined by the Surprise Scholé Academy Leadership Board on a case-by-case basis in light of all the surrounding circumstances. Generally, convictions for an offense involving children and/or for offenses involving violence, dishonesty, illegal substances, indecency and any conduct contrary to our mission will preclude someone from being permitted to be on campus during the academic year. Failure to disclose a criminal conviction on the application form will also be a disqualifying event. The background check authorization form and results will be maintained in confidence on file with Surprise Scholé Academy.
Two Adult Rule
It is our goal that a minimum of two unrelated adult workers will be in attendance at all times when children are being supervised during our programs and activities. Some classes may have only one adult teacher in attendance during the class session; in these instances, doors to the classroom should remain open and there should be no fewer than three students with the adult teacher. We do not allow minors to be alone with one adult (unless that adult is their parent/guardian) while on campus during Surprise Scholé Academy academic meeting days or other events.
Bathroom Use Policy
Separate bathrooms are designated for use by age. Little Learners- Grammar age students will use the restrooms closest to the Little Learners classroom. Dialectic/Rhetoric Students and adults will use the restrooms near the Dialectic classroom. Adults should knock prior to entering this restroom and only enter if there are no students in the bathroom.
Students will employ the buddy system at all times. No student should be alone in any classroom, hallway, bathroom, outdoors, or any other place on campus and should always be accompanied by a buddy.
Open Door Policy
Classroom doors should remain open unless there is a window in the door or a side window beside it. Doors should never be locked while persons are inside the room.
We recognize that there may be times when it is necessary or desirable for babysitters (paid or volunteer) who are themselves under age 18 to assist in caring for children during programs or activities. The following guidelines apply to teenage workers:
•Must be at least age 16.
•Must be screened as specified above.
•Must be under the supervision of an adult and must never be left alone with children.
Responding to Allegations of Child Abuse
This policy is established and applies per the following Arizona statutes: ARS § 8-201(2) & 8-201 (25).
For purposes of this policy, “child abuse” is any action (or lack of action) that endangers or harms a child’s physical, psychological or emotional health and development. Child abuse occurs in different ways and can also, in addition to the definition given in the Arizona statute, include the following:
•Physical abuse– any physical injury to a child that is not accidental, such as beating, shaking, burns, and biting.
•Emotional abuse – emotional injury when the child is not nurtured or provided with love and security, such as an environment of constant criticism, belittling and persistent teasing.
•Sexual abuse – any sexual activity between a child and an adult or between a child and another child at least four years older than the victim, including activities such as fondling, exhibitionism, intercourse, incest, and pornography.
•Neglect – Unwillingness or inability to provide a child of his or her essential needs, such as adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care.
Childcare workers may have the opportunity to become aware of abuse or neglect of the children under our care. In the event that an individual involved in the care of children at Surprise Scholé Academy becomes aware of suspected abuse or neglect of a child under his/her care, this should be reported immediately to the Board Chair for further action, including reporting to authorities as may be mandated by state law.
In the event that the Board Chair receives a report of abuse or neglect the following protocol will be implemented:
· In the event that abuse is suspected, the Board Chair will gather all pertinent information and notify the necessary authorities.
· If the police/DCS deem that an investigation is necessary, the Board Chair will notify the remaining board members that such action is being taken.
· If charges are filed, the Board Chair will notify all co-op parents affected of the issues. If necessary, the SSA Board will move to eliminate any employees or families who are under investigation.