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Safe Environment

By Bill Tillotson, Star Council Award Director

Vol. 4, 2016-2017

Tillotson Copy

For several years, the Supreme Council has required certain council leadership positions to take a Knights of Columbus approved Safe Environment training. If a man is the Grand Knight, Program, Family or Community Director, they are obliged to take this training. The Family and Community Directors are also obliged to submit to a background check.

As of October 13, for the 753 active councils in Texas, there were 3012 positions that ought to be Safe Environment compliant. But as of that date, only 1627 positions were fully compliant. That is 54%, which is a grade of F pretty much everywhere. We can do better.

Why is this so important? First and foremost, having our key personnel trained means we value the people we do charity towards. Abuse of children and vulnerable people destroys lives. It is something we all should be working to avoid. And the training shows us how abusers act and think, thus helping us identify and stop them.

In addition, this training is meant to help indemnify the Knights. If something happens, lawyers look for who to sue. And this training is one of the things the Knights can hold up to prove they made every effort to prevent the abuse from happening. This training also is meant to help protect you personally.

And yet, we still get push back and complaints about taking this training. I’d like to address a few of these.

  • I’ve taken training at work and in my parish – I don’t need anymore training. First, it’s good that you’re compliant for these other entities. But perhaps the Knights training will teach you something new that will help you. And the Knights cannot count on your diocesan training protecting them if they get sued since your personal info provided to your diocese cannot be shared with the Knights.
  • I don’t have time to take the training. The time it takes to take this training is about 90 minutes, especially if you are already familiar with the topic from other trainings. That’s about one evening of surfing Netflix, and for a much better cause. It’s not that much time.
  • I don’t want to share my personal information with the Knights. Rest assured the Knights protects your information. Supreme does not use the information shared to do anything other than make sure you do not have a criminal record that would preclude you from working with our youth.
  • I just refuse to do it. Then tell your GK to replace you with someone else. As a Knight, you took a pledge to obey your officers in all things lawful. So just admit you aren’t willing to do so and let someone else do the job. And that goes for you Grand Knight too. If you refuse to take the training, you should also tender your resignation since you cannot model, for your council, the values you promised in your First Degree.

Council officers can check their Safe Environment status in Officers Online. District Deputies can do the same for their councils. You are always free to contact me at william_tillotson@yahoo.com and I will look it up for you.

If you have lost the training link, simply contact the Office of Youth Protection at https://www.kofc.org/en/safe-environment-program/index.html. They will be able to help you. If, on the Star Tracker, you see a “No” under a director’s position, that man has been dropped from his role and a new Form 365 will need to be submitted to assign a man to that position.

Please help us show we value the Order by getting these tasks complete as soon as possible.

Bill Tillotson , State Council Awards Director

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