Keeping kids safe in your Sunday School ministry should be one of your biggest priorities. Regardless of your size, there are things you can do and while we’ll highlight just a sampling of those, where more detail is needed, we’ll refer you to those areas of reference. Someone said recently that What We Believe Shapes What We Do so safety and security begins with this approach.
Sunday School Safety: A Priority Checklist
√ Safety In Your Facilities:
- If your Sunday school classroom doors do not have windows, keep them open unless two unrelated adults are with the class but even then, the preference is still to keep the doors open. Install windows in the doors as soon as possible. It’s inexpensive and important.
- Use safety plugs in all electrical outlets.
- If there is storage, shelving, or cabinets – make sure all are secure so that they will not fall on children if they are pulled or bumped.
- Children’s ministry areas should be up to building and fire codes. This would include emergency exits, smoke alarms, and fire extinguishers. Contact your local fire department and request an inspection even if you don’t operate a mid-week daycare.
- Control access to your children’s area. There should be a limited number of entrance points and restricted access to the classrooms.
√ Security Cameras In Church:
Security cameras can be an integral parts of your church security program and may provide significant protection against allegations and monitoring of teacher/worker performance, however there are also legal concerns that must be addressed prior to utilizing them.
- First, check with your church’s attorney about laws that apply in your specific circumstance.
- Post signs to inform attendees that you are using camera’s for the church’s protection.
- Privacy laws limit how videos and images can be accessed and used so those need to be clearly understood and controlled.
- No cameras should be placed in areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, including bathrooms, diaper changing areas, etc.
√ Screen Workers:
This is covered in more detail under our separate Blog topic of Preventing Sexual Misconduct but it’s a vital part of keeping kids safe and should extend well beyond just doing Background Checks.
√ Standards for Food Allergies:
Food allergies in children are on the rise and therefore, so are medical concerns. It’s important to be aware of potential issues.
- Create a plan that identifies children with allergies.
- Manage access to student medication via State laws.
- Consult medical professionals in your church family or community so you know how to respond in an emergency. With this, provide adequate training for church staff – all personnel should be properly trained on how to react in a situation.
- Review your food allergy policy at least once annually.
If you desire a detailed booklet on Child Safety, an excellent resource provided by GuideOne Insurance, Child Safety for Nurseries, Daycares, and Playgrounds, is available for your download. Let’s help make your church one of the safest places in town.