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Club SafeSport and MAAPP Compliance

01/21/2020, 7:00pm CST
By Suzie Riewald, USA Fencing SafeSport Coordinator

USA Fencing is committed to creating a safe and positive environment for athletes’ physical, emotional and social development, and to ensuring that it promotes an environment free of misconduct. This includes the environment established at local, regional and national events as well as the environment established at USA Fencing clubs across the country. It is not an easy task, but it is a critical task. The USA Fencing SafeSport Policy, which includes the Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies, provides us, in part, guidelines to promote such a safe and positive environment.

Clubs, the following are questions to get you thinking about the implementation of SafeSport within your club. Any NO responses should trigger action to turn the response to YES. Where relevant, links to resources are provided to help you in your efforts. 

Do your coaches, staff, volunteers, etc. meet SafeSport requirements?

To help answer that question, you need to know who needs to complete the training. The following individuals must meet the SafeSport requirements, which include a current background screen, completion of SafeSport training and the membership type of Coach, +Coach or +CheckEd:

  • Adult members at USA Fencing or any of its divisions or member clubs who have regular contact with amateur athletes who are minors, including any volunteer, coach, instructor, referee, administrator, trainer or medical personnel (excluding those who only have incidental and observable contact with athletes at practices and events)
  • An adult authorized by USA Fencing or any of its divisions or member clubs to have regular contact with or authority over an amateur athlete who is a minor
  • Adult staff and board members of USA Fencing or any of its divisions or member clubs

To determine if, and ensure that, all individuals at USA Fencing clubs who need to meet SafeSport requirements have in fact done so, check here in our SafeSport database. You can search by name and if an individual is not on the SafeSport list, he/she is not SafeSport compliant.

Are one-on-one meetings between an adult member and minor athlete observable and interruptible by another adult? 

The Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies (MAAPP) mandate that this be the case. During these meetings, doors need to be left open, blinds need to be pulled up and, another adult needs to be in the club and made aware of the meeting. USA Fencing has signage regarding this policy that can be downloaded and placed in the club to ensure all members are aware of and monitoring this policy (One-on-One Meeting Sign).

Are individual training sessions between a coach and minor fencer observable and interruptible?

They need to be, as per the MAAPP. If the training session is not observable and interruptible by another adult, written permission must be obtained from the minor’s parents/guardians (Sample Written Permission Forms).

Are recording devices (photos, voice, video) prohibited in all locker rooms and changing areas? 

USA Fencing has developed signage that can be downloaded and placed on the door or near the changing area (Locker Room/Changing Area Sign). Be sure to post the sign in many places as it is common for teenagers to take selfies and photos with their cell phones – and immediately upload to social media. 

Are locker rooms/changing areas monitored regularly to ensure a minor athlete is not alone with an adult? 

The above locker room signage related to recording devices also addresses the need for an adult to never be alone in the room with a minor fencer. Adults, a quick shout out before stepping in can prevent this situation from occurring. Post this sign in your club to educate/remind your members.

Are electronic communication/social media restrictions in place and communicated to members? 

Follow the “rule of three” regarding texts and instant messaging. That is, in any correspondence between an adult and minor fencer, another adult (i.e., parent, guardian) must be copied. Keep communication TOP: Transparent, Open and Professional. Clubs can be more restrictive and set specific hours where e-communication is allowed (i.e., 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.)

Is the “rule of three” followed as it relates to local and overnight travel? 

The MAAPP stipulates that applicable adults shall not travel alone with an unrelated minor fencer. Whether driving to a competition or transporting athletes to a practice session, another minor or another adult must also be in the car to ensure there are at least three individuals. In unique situations where this cannot be adhered to, the parent/guardian must sign a waiver to be kept on file in the club (Sample Written Permission Forms).

Are an unrelated adult and a minor fencer prohibited from sharing a hotel room? 

To help keep our minor fencers are safe and protected, the MAAPP does not allow an unrelated adult and minor to share the same sleeping quarters. No exceptions. 

Do club members know where and how to report any concerns?

To report alleged SafeSport Code violations involving sexual abuse or misconduct, you must file a report with the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

To report alleged SafeSport violations that are non-sexual in nature, a report must be filed with USA Fencing using the fillable report form and sent to safesport@usafencing.org.

To report a USA Fencing Code of Conduct violation, fill out the USA Fencing Code of Conduct Reporting Form and email it to safesport@usafencing.org.

Tag(s): SafeSport