The We Care education-focused efforts complement the steps USA Gymnastics already has taken to promote a safe environment for its athletes through policy and guideline changes implemented in the last few years. Here’s a quick overview of what is currently in place.
On a monthly basis the Clubs Care Campaign will deliver information, strategies, templates, toolkits, checklists, action steps, posters, etc., directly to gymnastics clubs through a variety of avenues, including email, Technique magazine, www.usagym.org/ClubsCare, and the U.S. Postal Service. Clubs can use these materials to develop or refine policies and procedures geared toward eliminating the opportunity for inappropriate behavior or sexual misconduct to occur.
The USA Gymnastics Participant Welfare Policy provides guidance on how clubs, coaches and parents can work together to provide a safe environment, as well as requirements and expectations of USA Gymnastics’ members. The topics covered in the policy include: definitions of abuse used by USA Gymnastics for both physical and sexual abuse; reporting procedures and requirements for suspected abuse; misconduct/grievance procedures; member obligations and recommendations, as well as staff; standards of behavior; and education and communication about the policy to members and the general public.
Background screening is renewed every two years. Safety/Risk Management certification is renewed every four years.
The USA Gymnastics Code of Ethical Conduct offers general principles to guide the conduct, and the judicious appraisal of conduct, of all USA Gymnastics’ members (including employees and agents of USA Gymnastics) in situations that have ethical implications.
Posted on the usagym.org and printed in both magazines, this lifetime ban means the individual does not have any of the rights or privileges associated with membership in USA Gymnastics, including but not limited to participation in any event conducted or sanctioned by USA Gymnastics. Beginning in 2012, once a final decision has been rendered to bar an individual from membership, not only will the person’s name and state be posted on the permanently ineligible for membership list, but also which of the Corporation’s Bylaws, rules, regulations or policies was violated. (The expanded listing only applies to matters investigated after the adoption of this policy.)
Changes to the Bylaws, including Articles 9 and 10 that deal with Member Misconduct and Disciplinary Proceedings and Grievances, improve policies and avoid any ambiguity in the procedures. The most significant changes included an expanded definition of misconduct; delineated types of complaints; clarification of who can file a grievance; and providing additional information on the permanently ineligible list.
To become a USA Gymnastics Member Club, the organization must have a policy consistent with USA Gymnastics’ Participant Welfare Policy; certify that no persons permanently ineligible for USA Gymnastics membership – which includes convicted sex offenders and/or persons on the permanently ineligible for membership list – are or will be associated with the organization or its activities in any way during the membership/registration term; and employ at least one staff member who holds a current professional or safety-certified instructor membership.
USA Gymnastics expanded its sanction policy to ensure that the club(s), independent organization(s), and/or committee(s) that hosts a sanctioned event is either a Member Club or Registered Business of USA Gymnastics.
All athletes participating in USA Gymnastics-sanctioned events must be affiliated with a USA Gymnastics member club. Only member clubs may apply for membership in USA Gymnastics on behalf of an athlete and/or register a team of athletes into sanctioned events. All member clubs agree to follow a number of registration requirements, including implementing recommendations from the Participant Welfare Policy; certifying that no persons permanently ineligible for USA Gymnastics membership – which includes convicted sex offenders and/or persons on the permanently ineligible for membership list – are or will be associated with the club or its activities in any way during the club’s membership period; and employing at least one staff member who holds a current, certified professional membership (or a certified instructor for a recreational facility).