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Policies | Child Protection Policy

Protecting Children on Trinity’s Campus

Trinity celebrates the presence of many children in the lives of our large campus family, and Trinity is committed to doing everything possible to ensure the health, safety and well being of all children.

Trinity complies with all laws concerning the protection of children, and will immediately report any cases of suspected child abuse or neglect to the police and Child Protective Services.  Trinity expects all organizations that bring children to our campus to have procedures in place for criminal background checks of the adults who work with the children, and evidence of appropriate credentialing and supervision of the children and the staff working with them. Trinity may terminate contractual relationships with any entity that fails to adhere to legal requirements and best practices in the supervision of children in its care.

As required by law, Trinity will report immediately to the police and Child Protective Services any instance of child abuse or neglect.  Personnel have a legal as well as moral obligation to report any instances of child abuse or neglect immediately, and students should do the same.

Trinity is committed to maintaining an appropriate academic environment for collegiate-level teaching and learning, research, co-curricular activities, and all of the related work that supports the academic life of the university. To achieve these objectives, Trinity expects the full cooperation of all faculty, staff and students in observing these policies, which apply to all persons under the age of 18 who are not otherwise enrolled in programs of Trinity. Trinity reserves the right to exclude from its campus any person failing to provide appropriate supervision of any child in his or her care.

1. As a general rule, because Trinity’s work is higher education, Trinity’s campus is not an appropriate environment for children unless they are enrolled in a program specifically designed for children and appropriately supervised by adults with the proper training and credentials, also subject to required criminal background check clearances. Students and faculty expect to be able to conduct their teaching and research in an adult academic environment; Trinity manages the campus primarily for adults, and does not have the capacity to provide safe places for children who are not enrolled in specific programs. As a result, parents or guardians who find it necessary to bring a child to campus must adhere strictly to these rules:

  • no child may be left alone on campus at any time for any reason; Trinity will call the police if any child is found locked in a car or wandering alone around the campus;
  • children may not accompany Trinity students to class;
  • personnel may not bring children to work unless Trinity has specifically designated a time or place for staff children to be present;
  • unless they are enrolled in a specific program approved by Trinity with appropriate adult supervision, children may not be in the library, classrooms, computer labs or science building; children may not be present on residence hall floors; children may not be in the Trinity Center except in supervised programs.

2. Resident students may not ‘babysit’ children in their rooms. In addition, resident students may not have guests in their rooms who are legal minors, under the age of 18, including relatives.

3. Lounges, the Cyber Lounge, the Deli, the computer labs, the library, the lawns, the playing fields, the parking lots, the courtyard and other public spaces on campus are not appropriate places for child care, and children may not be left in these rooms for extended periods of time, even if other students are willing to look after the children.

4. We understand that child care emergencies happen. However, Trinity is not in a position to provide emergency child care on campus. We advise students, faculty and staff who have child care emergencies to choose to remain at home rather than trying to bring the child to class or other events on campus. We ask supervisors and faculty members to be lenient in excusing absences that result from child care emergencies.

If, despite this policy statement, a student brings a child to class, the faculty member may act at his or her discretion in handling the immediate situation, but in all cases, should remind the student of this policy. In all cases, the faculty member should inform the respective dean of the situation so that appropriate follow-up communications can occur in a timely way.

In addition, Trinity’s expectation of decent and respectful interactions between all members of the campus community extends to the treatment of children on campus.  Hitting, slapping, yelling or otherwise roughly treating a child while she or he is at Trinity is inimical to Trinity’s mission and values and will not be tolerated.  In such instances, Trinity reserves the right to summon the appropriate authorities should circumstances warrant, and to address the matter with the student as outlined in the Code of Student Conduct.

Finally we ask students who care for children as parents, guardians, relatives or friends to understand that this kind of statement is necessary because of the grave legal liabilities that exist today for the safety and well-being of children. Trinity cannot provide casual babysitting services; child care is a heavily regulated activity that only properly trained and licensed specialists should provide. If you need assistance in finding appropriate child care, please let your dean or advisor know, and we will make every effort to put you in touch with credentialed child care providers in this neighborhood.

If you see any instance in which a child is experiencing inappropriate treatment while on Trinity’s campus, as defined in this policy or District of Columbia law, or according to common sense and basic moral standards, please intervene as possible or summon immediate professional assistance to intervene in the situation.  All Trinity personnel have authority to intervene to protect children, and all members of the community share the responsibility to ensure the highest standards for child protection on Trinity’s campus.  Trinity employees must report any instance of child abuse or neglect through the channels below.

5.  Trinity faculty, students or staff who participate in programs or activities that involve minors must complete training appropriate to their role within the program or activity.  Such training must include, but is not limited to:

  • Basic guidelines for protecting youth from all forms of abuse and neglect
  • Warning signs that a child may be the victim of abuse or neglect
  • How to report incidents of abuse and when to follow up if necessary

Reporting:

For an emergency involving a child on campus:

  • call Public Safety at 202-884-9111 immediately

To report a suspected case of child abuse or neglect:

  • Dr. Karen Gerlach, Vice President for Student Affairs, 202-884-9203, gerlachk@trinitydc.edu
  • Ms. Sarah Phelps, General Counsel, 202-884-9049, phelpss@trinitydc.edu
  • Mr. Noel Baker, Chief of Campus Safety, 202-884-9100, bakern@trinitydc.edu
  • Off campus resource:  DC Child and Family Services Agency, 202-671-7233

To discuss a child care concern:  you may contact directly:

For a confidential discussion of concerns within the scope of this policy, you may contact directly:


For questions about Trinity policies, please contact the Academic Affairs, Human Resources, or President's Office as appropriate.

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