Abuse Policy

FIRST ROBOTICS CANADA

POLICY RESPECTING ABUSE AND VOLUNTEER SCREENING

FIRST Robotics Canada is committed to providing each and every participant in the events it organizes with a safe, positive and respectful experience.

FIRST Robotics Canada has a zero tolerance in all of its events for physical, sexual and emotional abuse and/or neglect of students.

Abuse generally

For the purpose of this policy, abuse is any form of physical harm, sexual mistreatment, emotional harm, or neglect, which can result in injury or psychological damage.

Examples are: unwanted touching, patting, leering or suggestive remarks of a sexual nature, or insulting remarks regarding sexual orientation; shunning, marginalizing or excluding someone; treating someone as inferior or with contempt on the basis of religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or other prohibited ground of discrimination; or a verbal or nonverbal action that frightens. (Examples of conduct not constituting abuse include the proper exercise of supervisory authority, and mutually acceptable teasing not offensive to others.)

All FIRST Robotics Canada employees and event volunteers are required to be vigilant about neglect and abuse. If a FIRST Robotics Canada employee or event volunteer suspects that abuse or neglect has occurred, the employee or event volunteer will forthwith report his or her concerns to the Executive Director, Tournament Director, or the Volunteer Coordinator for the relevant event. The dignity, legal rights and privacy of those affected by an abuse disclosure must be respected. Where abuse has been reported, FIRST Robotics Canada will co-operate fully with the investigating agency.

Volunteer screening

 Every person who volunteers at a FIRST Robotics Canada FRC event must register in advance with FIRST through its online Volunteer Information and Matching System (VIMS) as described in Schedule A. Subject to the following, FIRST Robotics Canada relies on the VIMS process, including the two reference checks contemplated by the VIMS policy, as its primary method for screening volunteers at its events. FIRST Robotics Canada does not at this time require a Police Background Check (PBC) for event volunteers, given the very open, public nature of our events and the very limited opportunities at our events for personal interaction between an event volunteer and a participating student. FIRST Robotics Canada follows the protocols described in Schedule A with respect to walk-on applicants, except that photo identification is not required from returning, VIMS-registered volunteers known personally to the Volunteer Coordinator for the event.

Teacher screening

FIRST Robotics Canada requires that every participating team at the FRC level be supervised by a duly accredited teacher or teachers in a participating high school.

FIRST Robotics Canada relies on the teacher accreditation process in each Province together with oversight from school and school board officials to provide adequate screening for participating teachers.

Mentor screening

FIRST Robotics Canada recognizes that participating teams make their own decisions regarding mentors. Interactions between mentors and participating students generally take place on school premises and are subject to school or school board rules, and in any event are outside the control of FIRST Robotics Canada. The policy of FIRST Robotics Canada is to remind every participating school of the need to have a PBC conducted with respect to every mentor who works with a team in their school.

Schedule A – FIRST FRC Volunteer Screening Introduction

FIRST realizes a measure of responsibility and strong moral interest in the safety of program participants and volunteers. FIRST wants participants and their parents/guardians to know about the procedures in place to assure that their experience with a FIRST program is exciting and fulfilling. The purpose of this document is to outline existing procedures that are used for volunteer screening for the FIRST FRC program. The procedures described in this document pertain to FIRST programs taking place within the United States and Canada and for volunteers who reside in the United States and Canada.

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) – Event Volunteer Screening Procedures Volunteers who have applied to FIRST and who participate in any capacity in the on site event activities of a FIRST Regional or Championship FRC event must be screened. Volunteers include: all volunteers who participate on the days of the regional event, Regional Planning Committee Members, Senior Mentors and AmeriCorps*VISTA members.

Screening is an important component of the volunteer application process. Volunteer applicants apply through the Internet-based Volunteer Information and Matching System (VIMS), or for late applicants, by filling out the FIRST paper registration form at the event. Volunteers under the age of 18 must obtain parental/guardian consent on their online registration or standard FIRST paper registration.

First Time Volunteer Pre Event Applicants

First time volunteer applicants, using the VIMS system to register (in advance of a FIRST event) in addition to their own personal contact information, are required to submit the name and contact information for two personal references who will be contacted by the FIRST screening service for reference verification.

The full screening process for first time volunteer applicants consists of the following steps:

  1. A check of the publicly available U.S. State Sex Offender Registries on the Internet to ensure that no applicants are listed. Most States maintain a web site listing people who have been convicted of sex offenses, and these lists may be consulted at no charge and without the individual’s permission. The web addresses for these listings can be found on the web at fbi.gov/hq/cid/cac/states.htm.

  2. Two reference checks on each applicant applying before the event to determine suitability to serve as a volunteer at the event. The two references that applicants enter into VIMS will be contacted. The reference check process will ask about the applicant’s suitability to volunteer at the event. FIRST will provide suggested questions and training to the screening service that will be conducting reference
  3. An interview with each applicant to determine suitability for serving as a volunteer at the event. Applicants will be asked about their background working with young people and their motivations for getting involved.
  4. Volunteer Coordinators will be able to see in VIMS when the screening process is complete, and they will notify applicants of their volunteer assignment at each
  5. All volunteers must complete a signed FIRST Consent and Release Form in order to participate in an event. This form must be completed at each event at which a volunteer participates.
  6. Picture identification is required of all volunteers when checking in at the event volunteer registration area.

Previously Screened Volunteer Applicants

The screening process for applicants who have been volunteers for FIRST for the year just prior, who have been fully screened within the previous 5 years by FIRST, and who have not been the subject of reported problems, will consist of the following steps:

  1. A check of publicly available U.S. State Sex Offender Registries on the Internet will be undertaken to ensure that no applicant is listed. Most S. States maintain a web site listing people who have been convicted of sex offenses, and these lists may be consulted at no charge and without the individual’s permission. The web addresses for these listings can be found on the web at www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/cac/states.htm.
  2. These volunteers do not require new or updated personal references and they will not be contacted again for a personal interview.
  3. All returning volunteers must also complete a FIRST Consent and Release Form in order to participate in an This form must be completed at each event at which a volunteer participates.
  4. Picture identification is required of all volunteers when checking in at the event volunteer registration area.

Walk-on Applicants

Volunteer applicants who arrive on the day of the event, and have not pre-applied through the FIRST Volunteer Information and Matching System (VIMS) and have not been screened for the event or for prior events are considered “walk –on” volunteers. The procedure used for this category of volunteer will consist of the following steps:

  1. Volunteers will complete a standard FIRST paper registration form at the volunteer registration area of the event. Picture identification is required. This paper registration will be sent to FIRST Head Office immediately after the event.
  2. This walk-on volunteer will be assigned to a position supervised by a screened Key Volunteer, generally assisting a team of pre-screened volunteers at the event. These walk-on volunteers are assigned to work with other, pre-screened volunteers, not to any individual volunteer assignment, where they would be working without direct supervision.
  3. An alternate assignment for a “walk-on” volunteer would be to be assigned to a “buddy” volunteer who has been pre-screened and with whom the “walk-on” volunteer would work for the duration of their volunteer time at the event.
  4. Walk-on volunteers must also complete a signed FIRST Consent and Release Form in order to participate in an event. This form must be completed at each event at which a volunteer participates.
  5. Picture identification is required of all volunteers when checking in at the event volunteer registration area.

************************************** FIRST Consent and Release Form

I understand that entering references into the VIMS system constitutes an application to volunteer at a FIRST event.

I hereby consent to permit FIRST to contact anyone it deems appropriate to investigate or verify any information provided by me to discuss my suitability for a volunteer position, including my background, volunteer experience, education or related matters. I expressly give my consent to any discussions regarding the foregoing and I voluntarily and knowingly waive all rights to bring an action of defamation, invasions of privacy, or similar cause of action against anyone providing such information.

I hereby authorize any organization affiliated with FIRST to investigate my background as necessary for the consideration of my application.

I further authorize all persons, schools, companies, and organizations to supply all information concerning my background and to furnish reports thereon. I hereby release them and any organization affiliated with FIRST from any and all liability and responsibility arising from their doing so.

I certify that the answers given by me to all questions on this application system are, to the best of my knowledge and belief, true and correct and that I have not knowingly withheld any important facts or circumstances. I understand that any omission or misrepresentation of fact in this application may result in refusal of or separation of volunteer service upon discovery of it.

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