The College of Arts and Architecture

Working with Minors, AD-39

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If you teach or work with minors in School of Music facilities, you must comply with Penn State policy AD-39 that governs students under the age of 18 who are involved in University programs, but who are not accepted/matriculated students of the University. 

AD-39 requires that two Authorized Adults be present when working directly with a minor or a group of minors. An Authorized Adult is a person, age 18 and older, paid or unpaid, who interacts with, supervises, chaperones, or otherwise oversees minors in program activities at Penn State. This includes faculty, staff, volunteers, and students. Authorized Adults are considered to be mandated reporters as defined by Pennsylvania law.

For information regarding how to become a Penn State Authorized Adult, see the bottom of this page. Guidance for reporting child abuse is provided in Policy AD-72 [1].

Hosting an Event on Campus when Minors are Present

Before you host an event, please read Policy AD-39 [2] so that you are aware of all University expectations. Then, since some events are exempt from certain aspects of the policy, it is important that you inform the Director’s Office when minors will be on campus for school-sponsored programs in order to discover the specific aspects of AD-39 that may apply. For many events, we must collect Medical Treatment Authorization forms, develop emergency parent notification procedures, provide on-campus contact information for parents, comply with Penn State Authorized Adult requirements, and develop a supervision plan for the length of the program. Other events may be exempt from some of these requirements.

Please be aware that, in general, we must supervise minors at all times if we are sponsoring the event. This includes mealtimes - minors may not go to restaurants on their own.

While policies do change, our currently approved agreement with Risk Management contains differing levels of requirements depending on the type of event.

Public Performances (concerts) in campus facilities

AD-39 does not apply to general public events where parents/guardians are invited/expected to provide supervision of minors, or to events where parents/guardians are explicitly required to accompany their children.

Public Instruction  (masterclasses, adjudication, clinics, etc.)

Since members of the public (teachers, parents, and other students) are typically present, these events are exempt from some aspects of AD-39 (i.e.  Medical Treatment Authorization forms). However, two adults should be present at all times, including at least one Penn State Authorized Adult. This is particularly important when there is interaction between the minor(s) and the master teacher or clinician.

When hosting a student ensemble, even if the ensemble’s conductor and parent volunteers are present, there must still be at least one Penn State Authorized Adult present at all times.

Competitions hosted by the school are exempt from AD-39, recognizing that the judge/competitor interaction is minimal (i.e. a judge saying "you may begin"). This is true regardless of whether an audience is present. However, it is strongly recommended that there always be two adults present. 

Private Instruction (lessons, coaching)

Anyone teaching private lessons to minors in School of Music facilities must comply with AD-39. This means that the appropriate clearances must be on file, and that two Penn State Authorized Adults are present. 

If two Penn State Authorized Adults cannot be present during a private lesson, we require the presence of a parent. The parent may sit in on the lesson or may sit in the hallway immediately outside the teaching studio. If this is not possible, parents may sign a waiver form [3] giving consent for their son/daughter to be alone with an adult instructor.

Please be sure that either two Penn State Authorized Adults are present, or that you have filed a copy of the parent signed waiver in the office when providing private instruction to minors.

Audition Days and Honors Music Institute

During School of Music auditions, when either having two Penn State Authorized Adults present or asking parents to observe might change the dynamics of the auditions and disadvantage students unnecessarily, we have received approval to employ a roving monitor who randomly observes auditions and who acts as the second Penn State Authorized Adult. The same procedure has been approved for the Honors Music Institute, when having two Authorized Adults or a parent present may not be realistic (or more stressful for the minor).

Whether or not a parent is present, anyone working with minors (as per the definition of a Penn State Authorize Adult) must have the appropriate clearances on file.

Email Communication to Minors

Penn State Authorized Adults may not have direct electronic contact with minors unless another adult is included in the communication. To help comply with this requirement, our college IT department has created an email account that can be cced (and shown as a copy) when sending emails to prospective students. Please copy [4] on all electronic correspondence with minors.

Becoming an Authorized Adult

If you expect to take part in a campus event that includes minors, or if you plan to give lessons to minors on campus, you must complete two steps:

1. Complete the three required clearances (PA State Police Check, PA Child Abuse Clearance, and FBI Fingerprint Check). The University covers the costs for this. See Lea Ann for further information.

2.  Read AD-39 about reporting child abuse to ensure that you understand the policies and laws, your responsibility to report suspected abuse, and the protocol for reporting.

3.  Complete the child abuse reporter training as mandated by Penn State policy.

To ensure that you and your students are informed of the necessary requirements, please see Lea Ann Bloom for more information. It is crucial that we maintain a list of all individuals who are working with minors in our facilities.