Safety rules and guidelines keep students safe and provide a safety balance for leaders and for the church.
Each church needs a set of safety rules for leaders who work with students with disabilities in any capacity including regular classrooms who have students with any special needs. Directors of the special needs programs at Chapelwood United Methodist Church put the following leadership rules in place. The church also requires that each leader attend a certified Safe Sanctuary class and fill out the accompanying paper work for a safe sanctuary check.
- A place of wholeness and safety for every student.
- Supervision that guards against unsafe practices between students and leaders as well as between students and students.
- Protection for leaders, aides or mentors against gossip or false accusations because of appearances.
- A healthy environment within the congregation.
- Protection for the church body from hurt and/or scandal through misunderstanding.
- There will always be two persons present in the room with any student. This also applies when a student asks for a private conference in the hallway or other private place.
- No student goes out the meeting room door without two accompanying leaders during the meeting or without a parent at the end of a session.
- We never use candles or light matches. For ambience try battery powered Christmas lights inside a glass cylinder.
- Two persons will accompany a student to an exterior restroom. Only one student may enter a restroom at a time. Respect the student’s privacy for toileting. In some cases you may need to leave the door open a little in case the student needs help. If a student needs assistance, two leaders must be present.
- Diapers and Depends are available in the supply cabinet. Two persons must be present if a student needs this form of help. Some students in our group keep extra clothing in the hygiene cabinet in case of accidents.
- The changing table will always have sanitary covering, blanket and pillow for the student’s comfort, and at least two persons shall always be present for changing. Privacy will be afforded in a separate room, a screen or curtain. Otherwise, the room will be cleared when changing happens. Gloves will be used and sanitary disposal provided.
- Always put personal belongings on a shelf in the closet or under a designated table or in a cabinet. Avoid bringing medications in a purse when possible.
- If you use medical aids, explain the rules concerning it to your class or friend. (For example, no one touches your cane or crutch or wheelchair controls.)
- Speak to parents about any medical aids brought into the classroom. Find out how they function, why they are used, and what the rules are for respecting the equipment. Explain to other students how to treat the equipment with respect.
- No student shall be invited to a leader’s home.
- Leaders may hold a student’s hand to calm or reassure, but there shall be no back rubbing or kissing.
- No student leaves the dining room once they enter until it is time to go to our meeting room. If, for any reason, a member needs to leave the room, he/she will need to be accompanied by two adult leaders.
- No leader may walk a student to the parking lot to a parent’s car. Parents must come to the inside door where the activity is held.
- Students are to be picked up by a parent or designated person at 8:15. No student will leave the room until the parent is there at the door. Students left late will be escorted to a designated location and the parent called.
- Each group shall keep a Record Book with permission slips indicating emergency numbers. The book will also contain emergency evacuation plans. Books will be clearly marked and secured. These books shall accompany a group on an outing and guarded for privacy.
- In case of emergency (power outage, fire, etc.) touch and guide persons to a safe location using directions from the emergency evacuation directions. Spoken directions do not suffice. Each group will decide who will LEAD to safety and who will remain behind to see that no one is left. If possible, take the Record Notebook when you exit. Each group will decide these responsibilities at the beginning of yearly planning.
- Safe Sanctuary training is required of any person who leads or mentors or otherwise works with any special needs persons of any age. This will be mentioned in recruiting to inform recruit that a police record check is part of the Safe Sanctuary.