ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION POLICY
As part of PRO SPIRIT’s emphasis on safety and athlete protection, communications involving any participant, and especially our minor participants, should be appropriate, productive, transparent and observable. Effective communication concerning travel, practice or competition schedules, and administrative issues among coaches, administrators, participants and their families is critical. However, the use of mobile devices, web-based applications, social media, and other forms of electronic communications increases the possibility for improprieties and misunderstandings and also provides potential offenders with unsupervised and potentially inappropriate access to participants. The improper use of social media, mobile and electronic communications can result in misconduct. Adherence to the PRO SPIRIT Electronic Communications Policy helps reduce these risks.
DEFINITIONS AND GENERAL POLICY
This policy is designed specifically for PRO SPIRIT and the protection of athletes. The objective is to provide a framework for effective communication, while attempting to minimize opportunities for inappropriate communication
The following are considered adults*:
Any person, 18 years of age or older affiliated with the program, that has a role within the program (other than being an athlete on a senior-level team) that has or could have direct interaction with minor participants. This includes, but is not limited to, program owners, coaches, choreographers, photographers, team parents, adult age participant and employees of the member organization.
Any athletes, 18 or older and on an open-level team, that train within the program.
* (Dual Roles) Adults that are affiliated with the program that are also the parent or relative of the minor participant serve dual roles. The parent/family role supersedes the role as owner or coach regarding communication with the related minor.
Athletes that are 18 years or older and on a team with minor athletes may communicate digitally with minors if following all of our policies.
All electronic communication between coach and participant must be for the purpose of communicating information that is appropriate.
Coaches, participants and all team personnel must follow common sense guidelines regarding the volume and time of day of any allowed electronic communication.
All content between coaches and participants should be readily available to share with the public or families of the participant or coach.
All electronic communication between coach and participant must be for the purpose of communicating information about team activities. Coaches, participants, and all team personnel must follow common sense guidelines regarding the volume and time of day of any allowed electronic communication. All content between coaches and participants should be readily available to share with the public or families of the participant or coach.
Social media makes it easy to share ideas and experiences. PRO SPIRIT recognizes, however, that social media, mobile and other electronic communications must be undertaken with care for the well-being of our minor participant. All electronic communication of any kind between coach and participant, including use of social media, must be non-personal in nature and be for the purpose of communicating information about team activities or for team oriented motivational purposes.
PERSONAL SOCIAL MEDIA SITES
Purpose: At PRO SPIRIT, we believe that social media plays a significant part in building relationships with our athletes and families. We want to stay engaged with our customers and help them understand that we are relatable and transparent. However, it is also our duty to maintain a professional standard with our personal social media platforms, and to ensure that our athletes do the same while representing their teams and PRO SPIRIT.
An adult affiliated with a program may have a personal social media page or site, with the following restrictions regarding athletes:
May not invite or allow an athlete to “friend” or join a personal social media site or similar online community.
May not “private” or “instant” message athletes.
Must inform parents and athletes that the above is not permitted.
It is recommended that adults make their pages “private” to restrict athlete access.
EMAIL, TEXT MESSAGING AND SIMILAR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS
Owners, coaches, team parents and participants may use email, text messaging, or other direct forms of electronic communication to communicate with the following limitation: All communication between coaches/ team parents and participants should be non-personal in nature and be for the purpose of communicating information directly related to PRO SPIRIT activities.
Text messages to athletes of encouragement, messages checking on athletes well-being, and messages of congratulating athletes are also permitted unlessotherwise not permitted by athletes parents. We encourage coaches, when sending a text from a coach to any minor participant, to include the participant’s parents and another coach or program director even when having permission from a parent to contact the athlete.
Examples of appropriate text messages;
Great job at practice today!
How is your injury today?
Happy birthday, I hope you have a great day!
PRO SPIRIT coaches are provided and use the organization website email center (the coach’s return email address will contain “@pro-spirit.com”) for all communications with the team, participants, and participants’ parents, where applicable. Coaches should not contact a parent or athlete with a personal email address. When emailing a parent the coach should copy another coach/director on the email. When emailing an athlete the coach should copy the parent and another coach/director on the email. Work emails can be opened and looked at by owners at any time.
Communication with the team is critical in our organization. Group messages with the team are allowed and typically created via IOS messaging applications. Communication in these groups should include but not limited to: practice information, schedules, videos and photos of practices, competitions or outside skillset conditioning, motivational conversations, encouraging the bonding of the team, and monitoring of activity of communication between the athletes.
REQUEST TO DISCONTINUE ALL ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS OR IMAGERY
Requests must be submitted in writing and communication to the team coach AND a PRO SPIRIT owners or officer. Following receipt of a written request by the parents of a minor participant that their child not be contacted through any form of electronic communication by coaches or other adults in the program, the program, team, coaches and administrators shall immediately comply with such request without any repercussions for such request.
Any adult member may not directly message a minor athlete participant unless the minor athlete is a member of their program. All contact must be initiated to the parent, adult owner or adult coach.
ABUSE AND MISCONDUCT
Social media and other means of electronic communication can be used to commit abuse and misconduct (e.g., emotional, sexual, bullying, harassment, and hazing). Any abuse or misconduct in any communication by any employee, volunteer, independent contractor or other participant of a PRO SPIRIT program, activity or event will not be tolerated and are considered violations of PRO SPIRIT policies and U.S. All Star Federation’s SafeSport Program. Infractions of PRO SPIRIT Electronic Communications Policy should be reported to a PRO SPIRIT owner or officer or the appropriate person as described in the USASF Professional Responsibility Code V8.0.
Any PRO SPIRIT participant or parent of a participant who violates this Electronic Communications Policy is subject to appropriate disciplinary action, including but not limited to: temporary suspension, permanent suspension, and/or referral to law enforcement authorities.
USASF POLICIES AND NOTICES
Additionally, all content must adhere to the U. S. All Star Federation Code of Conduct and the Professional Responsibility Code V8.0 regarding the protection of athletes. Non-Compliance with the Professional Responsibility Code is subject to disciplinary hearing and potential penalties by the USASF.
The following four points are defined as definitively inappropriate conduct. Any communication with an athlete, either verbal or electronic may not involve or relate to any of the following:
Inappropriate or sexually explicit photos.
Sexual innuendos, sexual conversation, explicit language or sexual activity of any type.
Drug or alcohol use.
The adult should not relay information about their personal life or social life outside of the professional environment or discuss their relationships or personal problems.
Regardless of the adult’s role in relationship to the athlete, it is the responsibility for the adult to maintain these guiding principles when communicating electronically:
Does the conversation pertain to the team, team activities, and/or health and well-being of the athlete?
Is the content of the electronic conversation something that any parent, boss or other adult would agree is professional in nature?
Is the electronic communication accessible to the public (at minimum the athletes parent/guardian) at anytime?
Can the information conveyed to the athlete be used as a permanent part of the athlete’s record?
Summary: An adult must ask him/herself whether the electronic communication with the athlete, if read by any reasonable individual, would be understood and determined as professional in nature.