Protecting Our Students
Below are the procedures and policies St. Louis School has in place that protect all students.
Virtus is the required training program and background screening for all employees and volunteers in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, including St. Louis school and parish. Virtus is primarily used for the prevention of child sexual abuse through training on the signs of child sexual abuse, the methods and means by which offenders commit abuse, and five easy steps one can use to prevent child sexual abuse.
St. Louis School Policies
- All families have a volunteer requirement for this upcoming school year.
- You need to complete the VIRTUS program before you can help at the school.
- This includes every adult in your household that plans to volunteer.
We take our students’ safety very seriously. If you have not completed the training, then we will turn you away when you arrive at the school to volunteer, regardless of the type of volunteering position. This training is also required for attendance at various identified school functions, including Carnival Day.
Once you complete the VIRTUS training program, your certification is valid for 5 years from the date of completion.
The online training may be accessed through this link. Our students are our first priority, and we ensure every family who puts their trust in us that we will protect your child when they are here at St. Louis School.
The following information, summarized from the Virtus website, provides a general summary of VIRTUS and how and why it was created. I encourage you to explore the Virtus website for more information.
What are the VIRTUS programs?
VIRTUS is the brand name that identifies best practices programs designed to improve the lives of all those who interact with the Church.
Who created the VIRTUS programs?
The National Catholic Risk Retention Group, Inc. (National Catholic) created the programs. Monsignor Kevin McCoy, past board chairman of National Catholic, asked whether child sexual abuse could be prevented and, if so, how? In March of 1998, National Catholic invited prominent national experts in many disciplines to discuss these questions at a forum in Washington, D.C. From those discussions, the initiative for the VIRTUS programs was created. The National Catholic Board of Directors selected a committee to oversee development of the programs and established a steering committee of nationally known experts and program and service providers.
Why did National Catholic select VIRTUS as the brand name for the programs?
The word virtus derives from Latin, and means valor, moral strength, excellence, and worth. In ancient times, virtus denoted a manner of behavior that aspired to the highest aspects of human interaction.
Thank you. Please reach out to the SLS office at 410-531-6664 if you have any questions.
Raptor is our visitor management system. It enables SLS to screen visitors and track volunteers. Every time an adult comes to our campus they need to check in at the front desk and present their driver’s license or other government-issued ID. This check-in procedure is required for all parents as well.
Once an adult provides their ID, the Raptor system runs the driver’s license through a substantial sex offender database. It immediately notifies school administration if someone is identified as a risk.
St. Louis School Policies
- Our policy requires all visitors and volunteers to check in first. Even if they are volunteering outside in the parking lot.
- Our policy requires the Raptor check-in even if you are Virtus certified.
I want to reiterate that we take our students’ safety very seriously. We ensure every family who puts their trust in us that we will protect your child when they are at St. Louis School.
All vendors who provide services to St. Louis School–from construction services to setting up a bounce house–provide background screening information on their employees who will be on our campus. Additionally, we still screen each person through RAPTOR at the front desk when they check in.
Teachers and Staff
All new teachers and staff go through an elevated background check and VIRTUS training before they are hired. After their first year, all teachers and staff go through annual training.
All clergy of the Catholic Church not only go through a higher level of VIRTUS screening and background checks, but members go through psychological testing and evaluation while in the seminary. Additionally, the Catholic Church requires all dioceses to participate in yearly audits by an independent auditing firm to ensure that they are all following compliance efforts.
For More Information
Fr. DeAscanis and Mrs. Thomas are committed to the safety of all our students here at St. Louis School. We encourage you to please reach out to them if you have a question or concern about our screening policies.
Thank you for following all of our safety protocols and encouraging others to do so as well. Together we form one St. Louis School community, and it is all of our responsibility to keep this a safe environment for our children.