Working with Minors

Effective Date

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Office of Primary Responsibility

Council on Student Organizations

Affected Parties

All Students

Policy Statement

Dartmouth College is committed to the safety and protection of children. This Code of Conduct applies to all faculty, staff, volunteers and students representing the College who interact with children or young people in a direct and/or unsupervised capacity. It also applies to employees and volunteers from external groups that interact with children or young people in a direct and/or unsupervised capacity in Dartmouth facilities.

Boundary Awareness

The public and private conduct of faculty, staff, employees, students, and volunteers can inspire and motivate those with whom they interact, or can cause great harm if inappropriate. Especially when working with children and youth, we should at all times be particularly aware that we are responsible for maintaining physical, emotional, and sexual boundaries. We must avoid any sexual behaviors with those for whom we have responsibility. This includes seductive speech or gestures as well as physical contact that exploits, abuses, or harasses.

We must show prudent discretion before touching another person, especially children and youths, and be aware of how physical touch will be perceived or received, and whether it would be an appropriate expression of greeting, care, concern, or celebration. Physical contact with children can be misconstrued both by the recipient and by those who observe it, and should occur only when completely nonsexual and otherwise appropriate, and never in private. One-on-one meetings with a child or young person are best held in a public area; in a room where the interaction can be observed; or in a room with the door left open, and another staff member or supervisor notified about the meeting. Dartmouth College personnel and volunteers are prohibited at all times from physically disciplining a child.

Reporting to Authorities

Under New Hampshire law you should report to the New Hampshire Child Protection Services if you have reasonable cause to suspect that children are being abused in any way. To make a report, call between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday - Friday, at 800-894-5533 (in-state) or 603-271-6562 (out of state).

Then call the Hanover Police Department, at 603-643-2222 and Dartmouth College Safety & Security at 646-4000. If you are not sure that you should make a report to New Hampshire Child Protection Services, you may call Safety & Security first.

Illegal/Inappropriate Materials

Faculty, staff, employees, and volunteers should refrain from the illegal possession and/or illegal use of drugs and/or alcohol at all times, and from the use of tobacco products, alcohol and/or drugs when working with children. Adults should never buy alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, videos, or reading material that is inappropriate and give it to young people. Staff members and volunteers should not accept or give gifts to children without the knowledge of their parents or guardians.


Communication with children is only allowed for Dartmouth College business. For the protection of all concerned, the key safety concept that will be applied to these interactions is transparency. The following steps will reduce the risk of private or otherwise inappropriate communication between Dartmouth personnel, volunteers, and minors:

  • Communication between Dartmouth College personnel and volunteers and minors that is outside the role of the professional or volunteer relationship (teacher, coach, host, etc.) is prohibited. 
  • Where possible, email exchanges between a minor and a person acting on behalf of the college are to be made using a email address. 
  • Electronic communication on a College network or platform between Dartmouth College personnel/volunteers and minors may be subject to monitoring. 
  • Faculty, staff, and volunteers who use text messaging or any form of online communications including social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to communicate with minors may only do so for activities involving Dartmouth business.