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Old 04-24-2008, 07:56 AM   #1
dragonteeth
Dojo: Elkton Ki-Aikido
Location: Virginia
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Instructor and Student Safety

Good morning all -

This is to continue the discussion started in the Disturbing News about Clint George thread about ways to prevent boundary issues (and worse) occurring in the dojo. If you have ideas you would like to share, links to relevant information, or dojo policies and practices that you would like to share, please offer them here.

Thank you!

Last edited by dragonteeth : 04-24-2008 at 07:57 AM. Reason: spelin
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Old 04-24-2008, 11:16 AM   #2
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
Location: Wisconsin
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Re: Intructor and student safety

Bowing is safer than hugs, off or on the mat.

In gassho

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 04-24-2008, 11:34 AM   #3
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Intructor and student safety

When working with youth, always maintain line of sight with another adult.
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Old 04-24-2008, 12:01 PM   #4
mriehle
 
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Re: Intructor and student safety

I felt stongly enough about this that I started this wiki page.

I think this is a discussion which is very worthwhile. I also think it's something that anyone starting to teach or starting a dojo needs to be aware of and have resources to look at.

And, while I put some words up there covering the issues as I see them, it's entirely possible that I got it wrong or missed something important.

I don't mean to seem like I'm hammering on this page, but I really feel strongly that it's important to not only discuss the issues, but to document some conclusions that a new teacher - or, really, any teacher - can use in a practical way.

And there is a related discussion here.

Last edited by mriehle : 04-24-2008 at 12:03 PM. Reason: More emphasis, link to wiki discussion

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Old 04-26-2008, 10:31 AM   #5
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Intructor and student safety

I teach martial arts in public schools, so stuff comes up all the time. It would appear that public schools have a little better handle on this topic than some dojo that I am aware of and so I would refer you all to a good page I found online that kind of sums up 'relationships' with students.
Keep in mind that this is from a College, and greater care could be offered for younger age groups.

Go to: http://ctl.unc.edu/tac.html
then go down to The Teacher Student Relationship heading and click.

This is the professional satndard.

I'll search for a link to another page that outlines students rights in a way that would benefit the structure of some dojo and their difficulties with power inequities and personal issues that cloud basic professionalism.
Thanks, Lori, for starting this productive response.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 04-26-2008 at 10:38 AM.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:33 AM   #6
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Intructor and student safety

Here's the next link.

http://schools.nyc.gov/RulesPolicies...ts/default.htm

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:35 PM   #7
Keith Larman
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Re: Intructor and student safety

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
I teach martial arts in public schools, so stuff comes up all the time. It would appear that public schools have a little better handle on this topic than some dojo that I am aware of and so I would refer you all to a good page I found online that kind of sums up 'relationships' with students.
Keep in mind that this is from a College, and greater care could be offered for younger age groups.

Go to: http://ctl.unc.edu/tac.html
then go down to The Teacher Student Relationship heading and click.

This is the professional satndard.

I'll search for a link to another page that outlines students rights in a way that would benefit the structure of some dojo and their difficulties with power inequities and personal issues that cloud basic professionalism.
Thanks, Lori, for starting this productive response.
Jennifer:

Thanks for the great link. I'm sitting here struggling with getting all my thoughts on paper for future discussion in our dojo and that link provided a great deal of structure that made it a lot easier. Good stuff.

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Old 05-06-2008, 10:04 AM   #8
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Intructor and student safety

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Jennifer:

Thanks for the great link. I'm sitting here struggling with getting all my thoughts on paper for future discussion in our dojo and that link provided a great deal of structure that made it a lot easier. Good stuff.
Hi Keith,
You are very welcome.
I am also very grateful for how structured this information is and how it can be adapted to our dojos and our curriculums.

If you were willing I would be interested in reviewing the information that you put together for your school after you've catalysed your thoughts.

I enjoy your level headed approach.

Jen

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:33 AM   #9
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Intructor and student safety

Boy Scouts of America have a pretty comprehensive Youth Protection program.

http://www.scouting.org/YouthProtection.aspx

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Old 05-06-2008, 11:10 AM   #10
tuturuhan
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
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Re: Intructor and student safety

This is a very very nasty area. It's one that people talk too much about and not enough about. It deals with "morals", "laws" and "physiology".

In California, statutory rape is having sex with anyone under the age of 18. In New York, it's under the age of 17. In Hawaii, I believe it is 13.

In Arkansas, I recall that the age of consent for marriage was 13. In California, when my parents got married my mother was 14 and you didn't need consent.

The point, is that laws and morality changes through "time". What changes ever so slowly is "human sexuality" and the underlying physiology.

Teachers, can learn to be wary. But, it is so difficult to protect against how the body betrays us. (And this goes equally for both men and women teachers). Adrenelin, dopamine, oxitocin all have the effects of creating "emotional bonds" between the sexes.

Lastly, and more controversial is the fact that it isn't just the Teacher who can be the predator. It can be the student.

As a lawyer, many years ago I represented, children and parents in sexual abuse cases. From experience, I knew never to be in the presence of a teenager without, supervision. Today, its worse, given the "game playing" and awareness of this "nasty nasty" circumstance.

Sincerely
Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

Joseph T. Oliva Arriola
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:46 AM   #11
mriehle
 
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Re: Intructor and student safety

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Boy Scouts of America have a pretty comprehensive Youth Protection program.

http://www.scouting.org/YouthProtection.aspx
I added this one to the wiki page under an external resources category.

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Old 05-06-2008, 03:48 PM   #12
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
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Re: Instructor and Student Safety

I used to teach and preach to my subordinate officers and trainees to treat every person with courtesy, dignity and respect. Very broad, but if an individual in a power relationship followed it, it would certainly help him keep his gi pants up.

That doesn't protect one from unfounded and malicious complaints though. The best remedy there is to establish and maintain boundaries, never deal with a child alone, and to live up to the responsibility and trust given you.

You don't need a laundry list of specific rules to follow, but you do need to explain each of these concepts in detail to your "student" so he clearly understands how to apply them and how they apply to everyday activities.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 05-10-2008, 10:45 AM   #13
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Instructor and Student Safety

Hmmmmm,

I had another thought about this subject. Which is; to get a job teaching in public schools a profile must be run ( i.e. a backround check ) by the State Dept. to see if you have ever been convicted of a crime related to children or abuse. It is only a screening but it puts up a frontline message that the organization (whatever the organization) is aware of healthy boundries and it has an ongoing process for dissuading those who may have negative tendencies. It is common and unoffensive to healthy people. I believe it costs $80.00.

I would put this practice in the martial category of awareness/zanshin.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 05-10-2008, 11:25 AM   #14
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: Instructor and Student Safety

Bowing is safer than hugs, on or off the mat. Bowing seems to draw a type of line between instructor and students, between students and students.

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 05-10-2008, 12:00 PM   #15
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
Location: Oceanside, California
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Re: Instructor and Student Safety

The background check for school teachers in California is a government mandate and requires a prospective teacher submit to fingerprinting. Then the individual is checked for a criminal history through the California Attorney General and FBI files. These checks generally aren't available for private sector employers.

Prospective employers in California are required (with some limitations) to do a "background check" on applicants, but that requirement is largely handled by documents proving the individual is entitled to work in the US and by contacting references.

Any individual can have a background run on another person by using the services of private investigators or the number of internet companies who will check various data bases for a fee. These kinds of checks can be very reasonably priced or very extensive and expensive.

Additionally, you can walk in off the street to your local police or sheriff's office out here and check the "Megan's Law" database to see if an individual is listed as a sex offender. Unfortunately that system isn't perfect; some offenders fail to register as required and some coming in from out-of-state don't register either.

You could certainly do many of these checks, but the cost would probably be prohibitive for most dojo.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 05-10-2008, 01:03 PM   #16
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Instructor and Student Safety

There is an online application for non-profits to particiapte. There is also an application for many servic- based organizations who provide health and human care/education. It is on the page of the link to the Atttorney Generals' Office of CA where a little more information is available about who can and how you can get set up with access to this process.

If several schools in close proximity were to apply together it might defray costs and expedite acceptance.

Worth learning more about, which I'm in the process of doing.

http://ag.ca.gov/fingerprints/agencies.php

Check it out and help me discover new angles as you do.
Thanks.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 05-10-2008 at 01:07 PM.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 05-10-2008, 01:12 PM   #17
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Instructor and Student Safety

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote: View Post
Bowing is safer than hugs, on or off the mat. Bowing seems to draw a type of line between instructor and students, between students and students.

In gassho,

Mark
In essence I completely agree. Bowing is less likey to be selfish. Bowing is respectful. Bowing reiterates our practice on every level. Bowing then could be said to be a manifestation of the impersonal love/ harmony written in the character . Which brings us into alignment and agreement with the teachngs and practice of aikido. Which IS the kind of love that we are wanting to propogate as aikidoka.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 05-10-2008, 07:38 PM   #18
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
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Re: Instructor and Student Safety

Jennifer,

I'm not sure that most "traditional" dojo would meet the criteria for access, but a quick call to the California AG at 916-227-2928 or 916-227-9508 could quickly resolve the issue.

Based on my experience with Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI), the records retention/security/audit requirements may be too burdensome to be of much value, but that's a decision only you and your dojo can make. You have to acquire the applicant's fingerprints, either on fingerprint cards or by live-scan. Most local police agencies can and will fingerprint applicants but they charge for the service, usually in the range of $ 45.00 per applicant, depending on their local labor and overhead costs. For true non-profits, the AG's Office will waive their fees. You can do the paper card fingerprints yourself, but that takes a little training and practice - no big thing, but the rejection rate is quite high, even for police agencies. Live-Scan is beyond your capability (no insult intended - the equipment is horrendously expensive to purchase and maintain) so your best bet is to get it done at the local PD or SO. In your case, I would contact the Sheriff in Santa Cruz. He is a great guy and might be willing to help you. Santa Cruz SO can be called at 831-454-2985.

Just give them a call in Sacramento - you'll find them very helpful and then you can decide whether you want to pursue the idea. Good luck!

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:10 PM   #19
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Instructor and Student Safety

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
Jennifer,

I'm not sure that most "traditional" dojo would meet the criteria for access, but a quick call to the California AG at 916-227-2928 or 916-227-9508 could quickly resolve the issue.

Based on my experience with Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI), the records retention/security/audit requirements may be too burdensome to be of much value, but that's a decision only you and your dojo can make. You have to acquire the applicant's fingerprints, either on fingerprint cards or by live-scan. Most local police agencies can and will fingerprint applicants but they charge for the service, usually in the range of $ 45.00 per applicant, depending on their local labor and overhead costs. For true non-profits, the AG's Office will waive their fees. You can do the paper card fingerprints yourself, but that takes a little training and practice - no big thing, but the rejection rate is quite high, even for police agencies. Live-Scan is beyond your capability (no insult intended - the equipment is horrendously expensive to purchase and maintain) so your best bet is to get it done at the local PD or SO. In your case, I would contact the Sheriff in Santa Cruz. He is a great guy and might be willing to help you. Santa Cruz SO can be called at 831-454-2985.

Just give them a call in Sacramento - you'll find them very helpful and then you can decide whether you want to pursue the idea. Good luck!
Thanks! I agree, the Sheriff in Santa Cruz is a great guy and the dept. is very helpful to me in an aspect of my line of work, which is teaching and training young men and women who are 'at-risk' or 'in-risk'. I appreciate your direction.Thanks again.
Jen

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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