aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,


Bullying is the cause du jour. I just got something on that from our Associate District Superintendent. I replied that this is addressed in our congregation's Child Protection Guidelines. Those guidelines were modeled on the guidelines approved by the old South Indiana Conference, and which beat anything the "Safe Sanctuaries" people have come up with.

Back then, the Conference Committee on CYSA/Scouting Ministries got together with the Conference Board of Youth Ministry, the Conference Board of Discipleship, the Division of Outdoor Ministries, and the Conference Chancellor to draft a set of truly comprehensive Guidelines for the Protection of Children, Youth, and Vulnerable Adults. They were comprehensive not only for covering all sorts of circumstances, but for being adaptable to any size congregation, with any amount of program and resources.

The Scouters took the lead on this because 1) we care about kids, and 2) every program of Child Protection reflects what the writers think ministry is. If your mental model is Sunday School, you won't write guidelines that cover church camp. If your mental model is Youth Fellowship, then you're not thinking about the church's Scouting programs or summer recreation programs or after-school Bible clubs. And so on. We wanted to make sure that there was a seamless oversight of ALL the church's work with children, youth, and vulnerable adults.

Under these guidelines, we don't permit hazing in any form. We insist that youth in leadership of other youth are to be properly supervised by adults. And we consider emotional abuse as unacceptable as physical abuse, sexual abuse, or denial of basic needs. These guidelines demand of us a higher standard of care than that mandated by the public schools and youth sports leagues (we don't tolerate adults in leadership belittling kids, for one thing).

Bullying is not a new issue. And the answers to it are not new, either. There is no excuse for letting it go on. Nor is there any excuse for making it some kind of cause, with some victims being uplifted and others ignored while some perps are vilified and others excused. All you gotta do is STOP IT. And that's an adult responsibility.

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