The League currently requires volunteers to be fingerprinted and they are subjected to a criminal history check. We are also implementing an interview process that will help us to weed out potential problems.
No. Unfortunately most sexual predators don’t have criminal histories. Those that do, often have minor criminal histories because prosecutors often times have to settle for lesser property crimes rather than sexual predator crimes because of a lack of evidence or an unwillingness on the part of the victim or the victim’s family to provide testimony. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy. Our failure to deal with the situation only moves it into another community.
In a lot of ways, you, the parents, are in the best position to thwart the efforts of these sexual predators. How do you do that? By being involved. By asking questions. By being observant. By being the protectors of our children.
Five questions to ask coaching or other volunteer candidates.
Parents of players
Coaches of your opponents
Five questions parents should ask themselves about their child’s coach.
Five things to do to protect yourself from accusations of inappropriate conduct.
The ten things your club/program can do to reduce the risk of sexual abuse or exploitation of children.
Never fill your coaching slots with a “warm body.” Check background, experience and history of a coach.
Remember that coaches are volunteers, not babysitters. Don’t just drop off your child and leave. Stay there whenever possible. At the very minimum, there should be a team parent at all practices. The coach should not be left to handle everything alone. That can put the coach in a difficult situation. What can they do if there is a medical emergency? They are there to coach, not be the parent.
When it is time to pick up your kids, if you did drop them off to take the other kids to another practice field, be there on time. If you are a parent and there are other kids waiting for parents, wait with the coach until another parent shows up. That parent should then wait until the next parent shows up, and so on, until all the kids have been picked up. The coach should not be left to wait alone with the kids, especially if the coach is not a parent of any of the kids on the team.
Confront strangers. Welcome them. Sexual predators don’t want to be noticed. If you see a stranger at your practices, or games, or hanging around the playground; approach them. Introduce yourself. Ask them which kid is theirs. If they are sexual predators they may look for safer hunting grounds. These are your children and it is your job to protect them.
Know that you have the right and the responsibility to bring your concerns and issues to the Club or the League regarding the behavior of any coach or club volunteer.
Set the rules for the parents about dropping off and picking up kids. Don’t allow your self to be put in the situation where you are left alone with the kids. You are their coach, not their parents.
Treat every kid with respect. Don’t show favoritism.
If you are a non-parent coach, always get one of the parents of the kids on the team to be an assistant coach. There is safety in numbers.
If you are transporting the kids, always have them sit in the back seat. Only allow your own child to sit in the front next to you. That way you cannot be accused of inappropriately touching a kid sitting next to you.
Make sure that parents know that it is appropriate to disagree with your methods or to question what you are doing.
A Special Thanks to Fran Sepler for her support of our youth sports program. Printable Handouts for Use by Youth Sports Teams: These are available for your unlimited use free of charge, courtesy of Sepler & Associates: Let us know if these materials are helpful at email@example.com | Copyright © 1999 Sepler & Associates Last modified: November 11, 1999