TO: The Trinity Community
FR: President Patricia McGuire
RE: Policy Concerning Child Protection and Children on Campus
This memo reminds all students, faculty, staff and visitors that Trinity has a very clear and longstanding policy concerning children on campus. The full policy statement here: http://www.trinitydc.edu/policies/children-on-campus/
The purpose of this policy statement is to protect children from harm. We need look no further than the daily headlines to know that children are often in grave danger, and tragedy can strike in a moment. Universities have serious legal as well as moral obligations to pay attention to the protection of children on campus. We simply cannot look the other way when we find children left alone with no parents or responsible adults in sight.
You can read the full policy statement on the link, but the essence of the policy is this: you may not leave your child alone anywhere on campus. If we find your child alone in a lounge, a car, a corridor or field, we will call the police. The most likely result of that action will be that you will be arrested for child neglect and your child will be taken to Child Protective Services. Nobody really wants that result, but that can be a consequence of leaving a child alone. Trinity does not have much choice; the law requiring clear and immediate institutional action is strict.
We understand that emergencies happen and sometimes your best plans for child care fall through, and so you find it necessary to bring your child to campus. If you must do so, then your child must stay with you. While normally we do not expect children to be in classes, laboratories, lounges or the library, the top priority is the protection of the child, hence, you must keep your child with you. Faculty members may exercise discretion in permitting a child to sit quietly with the parent during class; this should be rare, and if the child is disruptive, the parent should have the courtesy to take the child home for that particular session.
Trinity is unable to provide casual babysitting services. We have explored many avenues to see if we could get child care services on campus, and we continue to do so. Child care is heavily licensed in D.C. and the rules simply do not allow us to open a room and provide babysitting. Even if your child is older, if he or she is under 18 the laws and regulations concerning child protection still apply. Trinity is not a shopping mall or public playground; so, while you may leave your older children alone in other places, you may not do so here.
If you need help arranging child care, please contact your dean or the Office of Student Affairs and our staff will make every effort to help you create an effective child care situation.
Thank you for your cooperation with this policy.