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Thread: Locker Rooms and Safe Sport

  1. #1
    On the Ice
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    Locker Rooms and Safe Sport

    A few competitions we've been to recently have not had locker rooms. They said the Safe Sport rules were too cumbersome to adhere to and so they opted to simply not offer locker rooms. This isn't really much of an issue for a lot of skaters but for the skaters who have multiple events with costume changes between, this has posed a big challenge.

    Similarly, we have been to competitions that had locker rooms but the policies were so strict that parents could not assist their children in changing. For a lot of skaters, even some teens and tweens (not just the littles), this was a big deal and so even when there were locker rooms they ended up doing costume changes in the bathrooms just like when there weren't locker rooms. They just need assistance changing, period.

    But here's one thing, as I learned in my Safe Sport training, it's not just about sexual type issues in locker rooms, it's also about bullying between skaters (more likely when parents aren't around). Now that the new rules don't allow parents in the locker rooms I feel like potential bullying might become more likely. There's also the problem of skaters using their phones to take photos or videos in locker rooms, which Safe Sport talks about but it seems like if anything is ever done about it, it's just a small sign that no one reads posted somewhere near the locker room.

    What are your experiences? What are the solutions to all the potential issues?

  2. #2
    On the Ice sandraskates's Avatar
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    You may have already experienced this too but I'll throw in my .02 cents:
    A competition run by the local club is dependent on volunteers (now SafeSport trained too). The least desirable duty is to monitor a locker room and that is now a necessity. Thus, if there are insufficient volunteers, the locker rooms will not be offered.

    But if your child is under 11 and there is a locker room offered, as long as you are the same sex as your child you should be allowed in to assist them.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandraskates View Post
    You may have already experienced this too but I'll throw in my .02 cents:
    A competition run by the local club is dependent on volunteers (now SafeSport trained too). The least desirable duty is to monitor a locker room and that is now a necessity. Thus, if there are insufficient volunteers, the locker rooms will not be offered.
    Yup! The locker rooms are often the worst volunteer job. You don't get to see the skaters do their programs. It's cold. Parents get annoyed with you. You're not supposed to use your phone so no checking facebook etc. And it's just plain awkward. Plus you have to be Safe Sport certified.
    No one wants that job. So yeah, there aren't enough volunteers.

    And even if people did sign up because they thought it was important and wanted kids to be able to have lockers then the issue because one where the club has to decide, "Do we want to use so much of our very limited valuable volunteer resource on lockers? Or do we need to cover all the other jobs first before we even try to get locker room attendants?" It becomes an easy answer - no locker rooms!

  4. #4
    On the Ice sandraskates's Avatar
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    Yeah VegMom - you hit all the negatives on locker room duty. Now *maybe* if they could put a TV monitor in so the attendant could also watch the competition, the job could be more attractive. :-)

  5. #5
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    I am reading this thread with interest because it does not appear (yet) that this has made it all the way up to Canada, and certainly not the competitions my skater has attended.

    I recently volunteered at a competition with Jr/Sr. level skaters, including big names (it also went all the way down to Pre-Juv). "Locker room attendant" was not one of the volunteer positions that they asked for - they just put up signs on each room for which groups are assigned to it and leave it at that. They also didn't ask us to do any background screening, etc. (although my understanding is that for the bigger international competitions or nationals, they will absolutely do a criminal background check before letting anyone volunteer). For better or for worse, nobody is monitoring the change rooms. While they are separated by gender, nobody is policing whether e.g. a Mom goes in to help their son get ready.

    From my own personal experience, I've often been in the position where I have to help my son get ready and since there aren't really that many of them competing in any given event, the Moms that need to help just agree that we'll wait until everyone in the room is decent/left the room before we go in just to help where needed. Nobody gives us any grief and if someone comes in and asks us to leave, we oblige. I do see the obvious problem with this though - I always get through the "Skaters and Coaches Only" zone by saying I'm a parent and I need to help my skater. Of course, some weirdo could also come in with the same story, so in a way I can see that its a good idea to put tighter controls in place.

    At our club the kids just all change in the same room (only one room is assigned for the kids under pre-Novice) - maybe because he is with the younger group of kids, none of them seem to really care about boys/girls getting changed in front of each other or the parents being in the room.

  6. #6
    On the Ice sandraskates's Avatar
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    Canada will likely implement something like SafeSport eventually. It's goes far deeper than locker room attending. Chaperones, coaches, club officials, parents, have to abide by many rules when it comes to interactions between them and skaters to avoid the possibility of inappropriate behavior, grooming an individual, etc.
    If you're interested, here's a link to our SafeSport handbook:

    https://www.usfsa.org/content/safesport%20handbook.pdf

    I have a friend who once had 2 daughters involved in skating. Many times he'd take his daughters and their friends to the rink, about a 1 hr drive.
    Sometimes he'd just take their friends if he was going to the rink to collect skates for sharpening and someone needed a ride. But even before SafeSport became implemented he stopped providing rides. He in no-way wanted to chance getting accused of inappropriate behavior.

    Lots to think about now!

  7. #7
    in Emergency Backup Mode karne's Avatar
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    *bemused expression*

    You all have locker rooms?

    I have never been to a comp with locker rooms. You come dressed or you get changed in the bathroom.

  8. #8
    Tripping on the Podium vlaurend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VegMom View Post
    the new rules don't allow parents in the locker rooms I feel like potential bullying might become more likely.
    Would there really be any more bullying in the locker room at a competition than on a freestyle session, in the rink bathroom, at school, or any other place these kids interact with each other?
    In the years I've been in competition locker rooms as a skater, all I've ever seen is skaters trying to get in and out of their costumes on time and focused on getting ready for their events. I suppose it's more likely in a team environment (synchro, TOI, etc.) but that would happen back at their home rink just as easily.

  9. #9
    Rinkside
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    Our locker room monitor sat outside the locker rooms and checked for passes/badges. Under 11 were allowed a “chaperone” who registered at sign in and the competitors had name badges. Then there were periodic checks of the locker rooms to remind skaters and parents of the rules. Usually it was someone on their phone checking schedules etc. not thinking about rules. I did see a few teens snapping photos of themselves in their dresses etc. when it was just them in the room. We just asked them to step out side for using their phones and everyone understood.

    I think the periodic checks satisfied safesport but not 100% sure, especially with some changes recently. As far as who were older and needed assistance I think they asked a friend in the room or came outside for makeup or help with a particular snap etc.

    At one recent competition, parents weren’t allowed in locker rooms at all. Even for younger kiddos. I think having no locker rooms to change in technically gets around the rules but doesn’t really solve anything. At some point something bad will unfortunately happen in a restroom, and the rules are going to have to apply there as well if they continue to try to circumvent responsibility.

    I understand the need, especially with younger tween/teens in vulnerable situations. But if we want to run competitions, we need volunteers! It seems silly that a club of 50 or more skaters can’t have 50 volunteers. That reduces the need for so many hours required from the few that actually sign up to help. So help your club friends....help your club! Sorry rant over.

  10. #10
    On the Ice sandraskates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunshine247 View Post
    But if we want to run competitions, we need volunteers! It seems silly that a club of 50 or more skaters can’t have 50 volunteers. That reduces the need for so many hours required from the few that actually sign up to help. So help your club friends....help your club! Sorry rant over.
    Some clubs let members do a trade-off. There are members that refuse to volunteer. In lieu of completing the required volunteer hours they have to pay a fee. Sadly, many prefer to pay the fee.

  11. #11
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    Or the club is so large that it would require extra volunteers just to keep track of who has volunteered for what, let alone enforcing any requirements.

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