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November 14, 2013

Council approves sex abuse prevention policy

GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council Tuesday voted to adopt a new child sexual abuse prevention policy for city employees

The proposed revision to the city’s personnel manual sparked heated debate when it was first brought up in September, prompting Mayor Steve Reid to table the issue to see if a compromise could be worked out.

Tuesday’s vote was conducted under the consent calendar portion of the agenda and was among the items passed by a single motion.

— Under the new policy any communication by an adult city employee with a minor child as part of official city business must be made directly through an authorized City of Greenville channel, such as the city’s e-mail, Facebook or Twitter accounts.

— When interacting directly with minor children, city employees are required to abide by the “Rule of Three”, which requires that there always be at least three people present, unless the employee and child can be observed and/or interrupted by others. Specific city programs can be exempted from the requirement by the city manager, provided approved alternative means of protection for minors are in place.

— Employees 18 years of age or older may not date children more than two years younger than themselves.

— Two adult leaders, at least 18 years of age, are required on all overnight trips.  If male and female youth are present, adult leaders of both sexes are required on overnight trips and rooms should be as close to the trip supervisors as feasibly possible. When traveling overnight with youth participants, children should be paired up with other children of same gender and similar age group, with chaperones in separate but nearby rooms. When traveling overnight, no youth is permitted to sleep in the same room with an adult other than their parents or guardians.

— Employees must respect the privacy of children in situations involving the changing of clothes, bathing, and restroom use.  Except as otherwise provided, employees may intrude on only to aid a child requiring immediate health and/or safety assistance.  If aid is required, especially concerning a preschool age or special needs child, a stall door must remain open at all times.

— Employees shall maintain a presence immediately outside a restroom/locker room or within view of the restroom/locker room the entire time a child 12 years of age or under are in their care.

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