This page should be read in conjunction with the campus policy on Activities Involving Minors. If you have any questions, please contact Risk Services at 510-642-5141 or risk@berkeley.edu.

Click on VOLUNTEER'S CODE OF CONDUCT to access the form.

The campus has identified best practices associated with the following topics, and recommends that departments supervising activities involving minors adopt the practices or formulate equally rigorous practices better suited to their particular activity.

  1. Behavioral Expectations for Adults Supervising Minors
  2. Screening Applicants for Volunteer Positions
  3. Physical Contact with Minors
  4. Disciplining Minors
  5. Transportation
  6. Supervision of Bathroom Use
  7. Supervision of Locker Room Use
  8. Release of Minors at the Conclusion of an Activity
  9. Non-Program Contact with Minors

Behavioral Expectations for Adults Supervising Minors

Minors will be treated respectfully at all times, regardless of their actions or behavior.

Minors will be treated fairly regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or any other basis covered by the University’s Nondiscrimination Policy.

To minimize bullying and physical abuse, groups of minors more than two years of age from each other will be kept apart to the maximum extent feasible.

Adults participating in a campus activity involving minors will not do any of the following in the presence of minors:

  • Use profanity
  • Tell off-color jokes or banter suggestively
  • Discuss personal problems or sexual experiences
  • View sexually suggestive materials or make those materials available to minors
  • Comment on other peoples’ bodies
  • Use alcohol or narcotics or offer alcohol or narcotics to minors

Adults participating in a campus activity involving minors will not permit any of the following interactions between minors:

  • Bullying
  • Hazing
  • Derogatory name-calling
  • Ridicule or humiliation
  • Truth or Dare or similar games
  • Sexual touching

Screening Applicants for Volunteer Positions

Before a volunteer is allowed to participate in a campus activity involving minors, the department in charge of the activity will check the National Sex Offender Public Web Site to see whether the potential volunteer is registered as a sex offender. if the potential volunteer is listed as a sex offender, the volunteer may NOT participate in the activity involving minors.

Within the limits of their resources, departments are encouraged to conduct criminal background checks on potential volunteers. Click here for more information on setting up criminal background checks.

Departments should ask each volunteer to provide the contact information of at least three friends or family members who can serve as character references. The department should then call those references. If any reference providers hesitate to recommend the potential volunteer due to past problems with minors, the department should refuse to permit the volunteer to participate in the activity. 

For further advice on screening volunteers, contact Risk Services at risk@berkeley.edu.

Physical Contact with Minors

The campus understands that physical contact between non-related adults and minors can be essential to the minor’s well-being and self-esteem. The following types of contact may be permitted:

  • Handshakes
  • High-fives and hand slapping
  • Pats on the shoulder or back
  • Side hugs
  • Feeding and grooming of babies and toddlers (including diaper changes)
  • Holding hands while escorting children below the age of 8
  • Other brief contact intended to comfort distressed children below the age 12 so long as another adult is witnessing it
  • Teaching a physical technique that literally requires hands-on instruction, such as fingering on a musical instrument or positioning for an athletic activity, so long as it is conducted either in the open or in an interior space (1) with doors and windows open and (2) in a building open to the public at the time of the touching
  • Assisting disabled minors who need assistance with a major life function, so long as at least one other person is present and observing
  • Any contact to aid an injured minor or a minor in imminent danger of physical harm (such as a struggling swimmer)
  • Separating minors involved in an altercation

 The following are types of contact that should not be permitted:

  • Frontal hugs
  • Kisses
  • Lap sitting
  • Massages or rubs
  • Piggyback rides
  • Tickling
  • Touches on the buttocks, chest, or groin (except when changing diapers)
  • Wrestling
  • Any intended affection unwanted by the minor
  • Any touching conducted in private (i.e. no other adults or children present)

Physical or sexual abuse of minors will not be tolerated. 

Disciplining Minors

No adult associated with a campus activity involving minors should ever use physical punishment to manage a minor’s behavior. This prohibition should extend to, but not be limited to, spanking, slapping, pinching, or hitting. 

Transportation

Walking

Parents/guardians should be informed in advance of any walk for minors under eight years of age that includes crossing a street used by automotive vehicles. The parents/guardians should be informed of known traffic hazards and what steps the activity involving minors will take to mitigate those hazards. Parents/guardians should provide written permission before their minors under age eight participate in such a walk.

When walking off-campus as part of their activity, minors under age twelve will should identifying lanyards, badges, vests, or shirts. At least one adult should lead the procession and permit no minor to walk ahead. At least one adult should follow the procession and permit no minor to lag behind. The procession should stop on a regular basis for a head count. Unless safety considerations dictate otherwise, the procession should not advance until all minors are accounted for.

Automobiles

Parents/guardians should be informed in advance if their minor will be driven someplace. Parents/guardians should provide written permission to transport their minor via private vehicle.

Drivers should present the supervisor of the activity involving minors an up-to-date copy of their driver record from the Department of Motor Vehicles. If the driver record shows moving violations within the last three years, or a driving-under-the-influence conviction at any time, the driver should not be approved. Drivers who cannot or will not present copies of their driver record should not be allowed to transport minors.

If possible, drivers should use a University vehicle. Second preference is a rental vehicle obtained through a preferred provider. If using a privately-owned vehicle, the employee supervising the activity should determine in advance whether the private vehicle is appropriately equipped to transport minors, including, but not limited to confirming that the private vehicle has a seat belt or car seat for each minor.

Drivers of private vehicles should provide a valid registration for the vehicle they are driving. They should also show the department a valid driver license for the type of vehicle they are driving and proof of insurance for at least $50,000 per bodily injury, $100,000 for all bodily injuries, and $50,000 for property damage. Drivers who fail to provide the required registration, license, or insurance should not be approved for driving minors in a private vehicle.

Minors should not be transported by motorcycle.

No adult should drive one minor unless the driver is the minor’s parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or sibling. In all other circumstances except emergencies, drivers should inform their supervisor and the parent of the minor in advance before driving one minor.

Vans, Buses, and Other Commercial Transportation

Departments should notify parents/guardians in advance if minors will be driven someplace. Parents/guardians should provide advance written permission to transport their minor via van or bus.

For minors age twelve or under, adults should be seated throughout the bus for easier supervision, with at least one adult in the middle of the bus and one in the far rear. Adults should sit in an aisle seat so they can get up to supervise minors as necessary.

Minors should be seated by grade or age group. Disruptive minors should be seated next to an adult.

Adults supervising the activity involving minors should take a head count or roll call before loading and after unloading a van, bus, or other form of commercial transportation, and unless safety considerations dictate otherwise, should not proceed until all minors are accounted for.

Public Transportation

Departments should notify parents/guardians in advance if minors will be taken someplace via public transportation. Parents/guardians should provide advance written permission to transport their minor via public transportation.

Minors under age twelve should be restricted to one area of the bus or train for easier supervision. Adults should stand or sit on the periphery of the area to which minors on public transportation are restricted. They should take a head count or call roll before boarding public transportation and upon leaving public transportation, and unless safety considerations dictate otherwise, should not proceed until all minors are accounted for.

Supervision of Bathroom Use

Adults should use staff-only bathrooms. If no staff-only bathrooms are available, adults should use bathrooms when no minors are present. If adults must use a bathroom when a minor is present, the adult needs to follow the rule of three, i.e. at least one other adult or minor should also be present.

For minors age twelve and under, adults should escort two or more minors to the bathroom for group bathroom breaks. The adult should not send in more than the number of stalls and/or urinals in the bathroom. As one student exits the bathroom, another may enter. The supervising adult should stand by the doorway and ensure students are leaving the bathroom in a timely manner. If a minor under age twelve must use a bathroom alone, the minor should use a single-stall bathroom. If the only bathroom available has multiple stalls, the adult should assign a classmate to stand outside the bathroom and wait for the minor to finish. If the minor needing the bathroom, the classmate, or both do not return in a timely manner, the adult in charge of the activity should promptly check on them.

For minors thirteen or older, an adult supervising the activity should give permission for the minor to leave the activity to use the bathroom. The adult should note when the minor left for the bathroom and when the minor returned. If the minor does not return in a timely manner, the adult in charge of the activity should promptly check on the minor. During periods of transition from one activity to another, minors do not need permission to use bathrooms, but adults should randomly monitor bathrooms to ensure minors are not lingering or acting inappropriately in them.

Supervision of Locker Room Use

Adults should not change clothing or shower in locker rooms at the same time as minors, nor should they watch minors undress or shower.

While minors shower, at least one adult in charge of the activity should stand within earshot of the minors to ensure that no adults are showering with them and that the minors are respectful of one another.

Release of Minors at the Conclusion of an Activity

Campus units in charge of activities involving minors should develop written protocols for the release of minors at the end of the activity. Campus units should supervise minors until they are picked up by an adult authorized in advance to take custody of the minor. However, with advance written consent of parents/guardians, campus units may release minors to the custody of others or may release minors to their own custody.

Campus units in charge of activities involving minors should develop protocols for extended supervision of minors in the event of a natural disaster or other unanticipated interruption of the activity, or if continuous adult supervision becomes difficult for any other reason.

Non-Program Contact with Minors

In-Person Meetings 

Employees and volunteers who are part of a campus activity involving minors should not meet in person outside the activity with any individual minor unless another adult who is part of the activity (preferably the employee’s or volunteer’s supervisor) has been made aware and has approved of the meeting in advance.

Employees and volunteers supervising a campus activity involving minors may meet groups of program participants outside the activity provided:

  • The employees or volunteers have written permission from the parents/guardians of each minor participating in the outside activity
  • The outside activity is held in a public place such as a restaurant, museum, or stadium.

Telephonic and Electronic Communication 

Employees and volunteers may communicate through electronic media to groups of program participants. However, unless they copy or otherwise include another adult connected to the activity (preferably their supervisor), employees and volunteers participating in a campus activity involving minors should not:

  • Send text messages to or respond to text messages from an individual minor involved in the program
  • Send emails to or respond to emails from an individual minor involved in the program
  • Communicate via the personal page of an individual minor on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter
  • Call an individual minor involved in the program on the telephone

 Exceptions should be allowed for employees communicating to individual middle school or high school age minors for business purposes only, provided those employees:

  • For emails, use only their berkeley.edu email address
  • For texts and phone calls, use University-owned devices to the greatest extent possible
  • Are willing to share records of their communications with minors sent or received via personal devices

Gifts 

Adults participating in a campus activity involving minors may give a token gift (under $25 value) to all minors involved in the activity. However, no adult participating in a campus activity involving minors should be allowed to give an individual minor in the program a gift (regardless of value) without prior approval from both:

  • The parent or legal guardian of the minor
  • The program supervisor