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Standards of Communication with Minors in University Programs

Standards of Communication with Minors in University Programs

The following standards apply to you as an adult employee or volunteer authorized under the Minor Protection Policy to interact with minors in a university program.* These standards apply to all forms of communication you may have with minors before, during, and after a university program, including verbal conversations in person, on the phone, or by video conference, as well as correspondence by email, letter, text, app, social media, and any other method. Remember that you are an employee or volunteer at an institution sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Failure to adhere to these standards of communication may subject you to appropriate sanctions up to and including termination.

  • Always use good judgment in your communication with minors and in the presence of minors.
  • Use clean language that encourages, uplifts, and compliments others.
  • Do not use profane language or participate in discussions or jokes that are vulgar, crude, or refer to immoral actions.
  • Avoid conversations surrounding topics which should be left to parents, church leaders, or licensed professionals. These topics include, but are not limited to:
    • mental health;
    • past or current serious transgressions;
    • sexual orientation; and
    • gender identity

If you are approached by a minor seeking personal counsel regarding any of these topics you should politely inform the minor that you are not in a position to address these topics with him or her. Encourage the minor to speak to parents and/or church leaders, who are best positioned to provide counsel or assistance. If these topics are brought up in a group setting, respectfully acknowledge the minor’s concerns and refer the participant to parents and/or church leaders for love and support.

  • Keep all communication open to the public.
  • Do not provide your personal contact information to minors unless specifically authorized by your program director to facilitate program work.
  • Always copy another adult (parent, staff member, etc.) in any electronic message (text message, email, etc.) sent to a minor.
  • Do not private message or chat with a minor on any social media outlet (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) or online games.  All communication on social media outlets or online games should be public such as a Facebook wall or public Instagram post.
  • Do not use Snapchat or other similar apps to contact a minor.

* The terms “minor” and “university program” have the same meaning given in the Minor Protection Policy.