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Background Checks

Background checks are REQUIRED for all Assistant Coaches, Head Coaches, and Staff. We currently use Sterling Volunteers to run these checks. This organization is a full-service background screening company's that offers volunteer-based organizations a one-stop-shop for background checks, paperless solutions and child safety training. Volunteer and staff screening is their specialty, including a very thorough national background check service with a national criminal database search, national sex offender check, SSN identity check, and address history, plus a complete re-verification of all criminal hits for guaranteed accuracy on over 400 million national criminal records.

All fees associated with the mandatory background checks are paid by Northland NFL FLAG.

Our coordinators are vigilant in the protection of our youth. Coach’s shirts and rosters are not given to coaches until a background check has been completed.

Background Checks have been implemented for the purpose of:

1. Promoting a safe, nurturing, and supportive athletic environment in which youth athletes can pursue their athletic goals.

2. Providing an environment where parents of children can feel good about allowing their child to participate in the sport of flag football. Please note; this screening is not intended to serve as a profiling tool nor can screening guarantee that incidents of abuse by coaches will not occur. Background screening is designed as a preventative risk management tool but does not ensure inappropriate behavior will not occur.

3. Sterling Volunteers is our primary national provider for background checks. More information about Sterling Volunteers is available on their website at wwww.sterlingvolunteers.com or by contacting their support service.

What Coaches can expect from a background check:

1. We require any coach who has access or direct contact with youth athletes (under the age of 18) during scheduled practices or games to submit information for a background check, review and acknowledge the Coaches Code of Conduct waiver and be listed on the team roster.

2. Background checks will require an applicant’s full name, social security number, and date of birth.

3. Coaches will be screened for convictions of the following crimes:

  - Felony (best described as but not limited to, any crime punishable by confinement greater than one year)
  - Any crime involving force or threat of force against a person.
- Any crime in which sexual relations is an element, including “victimless” crimes of a sexual nature (including pornography)
- A crime involving controlled substances (not paraphernalia or alcohol)
- Any crime involving cruelty to animals.

4. What DISQUALIFIES a potential coach:

- Sexual Offenses and Misconduct Felonies
- Violent Felonies
- Any child abuse or domestic violence Felonies
- Felonies (other than sex or violence related) within the past 10 years
- Misdemeanors including controlled substances (not paraphernalia or alcohol) or violence within the past seven years
- Pending charges including violence, sexual offense, child abuse, or controlled substances

Policies

Policies To Protect Against Misconduct

- All forms of abuse including sexual, physical, emotional, harassment, bullying, and hazing are prohibited.

- Prohibited sexual abuse physical acts include genital contact whether or not either party is clothed; fondling of a participant’s breast or buttocks; sexual penetration; sexual assault, exchange of a reward in sport for sexual favors; lingering or repeated embrace that goes beyond acceptable physical touch; tickling, wrestling, or massage; and continued physical contact that makes a participant uncomfortable.

- Prohibited sexual abuse verbal acts include making sexually oriented comments, jokes and innuendo; staff member discussing his or her sex life with participant; asking about a participant’s sex life; requesting or sending a nude or partial dress photo; exposing participants to pornographic material; voyeurism; and sexting with a participant.

- Any type of grooming behavior is prohibited.

- Prohibited forms of physical abuse include punching, beating, biting, striking, choking, slapping, or intentionally hitting a participant with objects or sports equipment; providing alcohol to a participant under legal drinking age; providing illegal drugs or non prescribed medications to any participant; encouraging or permitting a participant to return to play after injury or sickness prematurely without clearance of a medical professional; prescribing dieting or other weight control methods for humiliation purposes; isolating a participant in a confined space; forcing participant to assume a painful stance or position for no athletic purpose; withholding, or denying adequate hydration, nutrition medical attention, or sleep.

- Prohibited emotional abuse includes a pattern of verbally attacking a participant personally such as calling them worthless, fat or disgusting; physically aggressive behaviors such as throwing or hitting objects; and ignoring a participant for extended periods of time or excluding them from practice.

- Bullying includes an intentional, persistent, or repeated pattern of committing or willfully tolerating (e.g., staff not preventing) physical, nonphysical, or cyber bullying behaviors that are intended to cause fear, humiliation, physical harm in an attempt to socially exclude, diminish, or isolate another person emotionally, physically, or sexually. It is often not the staff, but instead, other participants who are the perpetrators of bullying. However, it is a violation if the staff member knows or should have known of the bullying behavior but takes no action to intervene on behalf of the targeted participants.

- Prohibited hazing includes any contact which is intimidating, humiliating, offensive or physically harmful. Hazing typically is an activity that serves as a condition for joining a team of being socially accepted by team members.

- Two deep leadership is required where two adults (e.g., any combination of staff or parents) should be present at all times so that a minor participant can’t be isolated with a single unrelated adult, except in the case of an emergency.

- All electronic communications including email, texting, social media, etc. between the staff member and a minor participant should be limited strictly to the legitimate activities of the organization.

- Any overnight travel exposure should prohibit adults spending the night in the same room as an unrelated minor participant; require grouping of participants of the same sex and age group in rooms; and provide adequate oversight with a same-sex chaperone for each group.

- Take off/pick up of athletes by staff should be strongly discouraged because of the difficulty in limiting one-on-one contact.

Reporting A Suspicion of Child Sexual or Physical Abuse and Other Misconduct

Federal or state law may require any adult staff member who has a suspicion of child sexual or physical abuse to independently report such suspicion directly to law enforcement within 24 hours. Failure to report may be a punishable offense.

In addition, the adult staff member should report the suspicion within 24 hours to the appropriate organization official and the official should also report to law enforcement within 24 hours if there is suspicion that child sexual or physical abuse has been committed.

The organization should allow law enforcement to handle the investigation and the suspected staff member should be immediately suspended or reassigned to alternative duties that don’t involve access to youth pending the outcome of the investigation. Organization officials should not comment on the allegation or police investigation until it has been concluded.

Staff members should also report prohibited misconduct other than child sexual and physical abuse to the appropriate organization official and the organization can investigate and decide what types of sanctions, if any, are appropriate.

The organization is prohibited from retaliating in any way against a staff member who makes a good faith report of a suspicion of any form of misconduct.

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