March 11, 2020
Dear AMS Officials,
I would like to share with you information that the AMS Safe Sport Chair, Michelle Bernard, shared with Club Presidents, Club Meet Directors and Club Safe Sport Chairs and the AMS Board of Directors. This is important information for all AMS Officials to be aware of. Safe Sport will be working on "Best Practice" recomendations for our referees in case this situation occurs again. The AMS Officials handles the incident in an appropriate and professional manner that allowed the meet to continue with the safety of our ahtletes as the top priorty.
As always, thank you for your help in providing safe and fair competitions for the swimmers of the AMS!
Kathy McFaden, AMS Officials Chair
Letter from Michelle Bernard, AMS Safe Sport Chair:
I want to communicate to you a recent Safe Sport incident that occurred at an LSC with a registered sex offender on the Pennsylvania Megan’s Law registry.
A parent volunteer who is registered on Megan’s Law was recently on a deck during a meet before he was identified by a spectator in the stands and ask to leave the property.
The local police and state police were both contacted. Local and school police were immediately dispatched to the school. I’m attaching a link to the state police run website for Megan’s Law.
People are placed on this registry only after they are convicted of sexual crimes against children/ minors.
If an offender on this registry is identified at a swim meet or on a pool deck please notify the deck referee and meet director who will immediately handle the extrication process using 911 and the Megan’s Law direct toll-free number 1 866 771 3170.
They are also the people who handle the communication to a volunteer whose services are no longer needed and who will wait with the volunteer for the police to arrive.
We are not requiring to date that all deck volunteers have PA state clearances, however a few suggestions that promote pool deck safety are outlined below. The first suggestion is from our athletes.
· Identify meet leadership on the deck clearly with brightly colored wrist bands or shirts/vests that athletes or anyone else on the deck can easily find and go to with questions, concerns, or reports of occurrence.
· Require as a club/team that deck positions which have authority over or supervision of athletes require that those volunteers have PA clearances. The PA clearances are free of charge for volunteers if you have lived in PA for 10 years or longer and complete the state waiver. Cost is only incurred if you are paid employee or have lived outside of Pennsylvania during the past 10 years and need to get finger printed.
· Cross Reference your meet volunteer sign-up list with the Megan’s Law registry when hosting a meet
It is ALWAYS better to over report than to under report in any instance where safety or safe sport is involved. Keeping our children and student athletes safe is a multi- faceted effort that involves all of us at every level taking athlete protection and safety seriously. Please visit
keepkidssafe.pa.gov for details.
The volunteer and coach check in table are not just for signing in people. The table and it’s volunteer (s) are the first line of defense at the main entrance to the deck for keeping athletes safe. It is always important that a diligent volunteer remain at the sign in table for the entire meet session to ensure who is on the deck is allowed to be there.
If you have any questions or need any assistance, please reach out to Michelle Bernard at [email protected] or 412 901 6347.