I -INTRODUCTION

The Acadia Regional Youth Orchestra (ARYO) is a strings program which offers instruction in violin, viola and cello and double bass, and an orchestral program consisting of string orchestras of different levels, for students ages 10-25, along with a fiddle group open to all ages.

 Objectives:

1. To provide string music education and to promote string music in the Annapolis Valley

2. To promote string and orchestra music in local and regional school programs

3. To associate with the province of Nova Scotia’s post-secondary Music Education program through the Acadia University School of Music

4. To collaborate with other musical groups in the Annapolis Valley Region

5. To promote and preserve the Nova Scotian heritage of fiddle and folk music through instruction and performance

ARYO is committed to creating opportunities for children and for the community to enjoy the benefits of music. As such, we have measures in place to deliver our programs and services in an environment that is free of harassment, discrimination and sexual abuse.

II-ARYO CODE OF CONDUCT

The code of conduct describes acceptable and unacceptable behaviours. All board members, staff, instructors, conductors, volunteers, program participants and their caregivers are required to uphold the code of conduct.

Acadia Regional Youth Orchestra does not tolerate abuse of any kind, including physical, sexual and mental abuse.

ARYO does not tolerate discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, citizenship, religion, sex, gender, mental or physical ability, socio-economic status, health-related status, sexual orientation, or any other grounds as listed in the Human Rights legislation.

ARYO has zero tolerance for bullying, cyber-bullying, or intimidation of any kind.

Every ARYO student has the right to feel safe at ARYO activities without fear of abuse, whether emotional, physical, or sexual. 

ARYO strives to create an environment that is safe and nurtures participants in their musical development. Consensual, appropriate, and participant-led contact can be a component of caring, professional relationships that support participant learning and well-being. Participant-led affection will be responded to with kindness and respect. Instructors, volunteers and board members will not initiate physical affection.

All participants (and their caregivers), staff, volunteers, and board members must adhere to appropriate and encouraged interactions and must not engage in inappropriate/prohibited or harmful behaviours.

III-EXPECTATIONS

Participants are asked to be respectful by arriving on time and doing their best during each ARYO lesson and performance. Participants are asked to take responsibility for caring for their instrument, for paying attention to instructions and being prepared and focussed at each ARYO lesson and event.

Participants will be given clear instructions about expected behaviour. Instructors will communicate with participants about when it is appropriate to listen attentively, to perform, to take breaks and what type of play and noise is acceptable. When participants are not able to cooperate as asked, they will be reminded of their commitment to meet these behaviour expectations. If the participant struggles to maintain these standards, the program director will consult with the participants and their caregivers to determine what steps will be taken to improve conditions.

ARYO acknowledges that the relationship between staff or volunteers and students is a relationship of trust, power and authority and therefore staff and volunteers will always bear the responsibility for conducting themselves with integrity and professionalism.

IV-PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE

ARYO recognizes that childhood sexual abuse is unacceptable and acknowledges our responsibility in prevention, and have adopted the following protocols.

Interactions

Appropriate and encouraged interactions  

  • Praise, encouragement and acknowledgement
  • Warmth and kindness
  • Asking permission to touch for necessary purposes (correcting posture/positioning)
  • Pats on the back or shoulder
  • Handshakes and high fives
  • Public digital communication to groups of participants and parents

Inappropriate and prohibited interactions

  • Risqué jokes
  • Profanity
  • Favouritism
  • Initiating hugs and intimate physical contact
  • Photographing children with personal devices (that is not for the purpose of ARYO)
  • Private digital interactions

Harmful and prohibited interactions

  • Actions or speech that humiliates, threatens, ridicules, degrades, or frightens
  • Corporal punishment of any kind
  • Patting buttocks
  • Touch of personal areas- face, mouth, legs, breasts, stomach, genitals
  • Intimate, romantic, or sexual conduct
  • Showing pornography or involving youth in pornography

Monitoring 

ARYO will maintain supervision of and responsibility for our programs and services by the following methods:

  • During the orientation session the policy is reviewed with caregivers and participants and contact information is provided for reporting of concerns.
  • Maintaining open and friendly communication with parents on an ongoing basis facilitates reporting of concerns.
  • Instructional sessions and spaces will be monitored by the Program Director and members of the board on a schedule established each year.
  • Caregivers are invited to take notice of the environment and behaviours at pick/up drop/off and lessons or events and are encouraged to provide feedback.
  • Instructors and Volunteers are invited to bring concerns to the Program Director or a member of the Board.

Personnel 

  • ARYO has a policy for screening and selecting employees which gives details on steps taken to minimize risk when hiring for this program. 

Safe Environment

While operating on Acadia’s Campus, ARYO has access to Acadia Security. 

(902) 585-1103

or dial 88 from a campus phone

security@acadiau.ca (general inquiries)

Most ARYO lessons and activities happen in group settings and in public spaces that are easily viewed by others, which decreases the risk of abuse or unwanted behaviours.  However, depending on group size and unplanned absences, the instructor may find themselves in a one-on-one setting with a student. In this situation the student may ask an additional person to be present, and the door remains open through the lesson. 

The following outlines how ARYO will help to mitigate the risk of sexual abuse and unwanted behaviour from occurring and help to increase visibility in all ARYO locations:

  • Lobby and Main Stage: instructor and board member supervision, accessible to caregivers
  • Green Room: the instructor will set up at the end of the room farthest from the door so that participants have easy access to the exit. The door will be kept ajar and instructors/volunteers, caregivers and board members may check in on the space.
  • Bass Instruction Room: the instructor will set up at the end of the room farthest from the door so that participants have easy access to the exit. The door will be kept ajar and instructors/volunteers, caregivers and board members may check in on the space. Bass instruction in the bass room requires the authorization of the Acadia School of Music. 
  • Washrooms: Festival Theatre lobby contains two multi-stalled (male and female) rooms that are open to the public. Participants are asked to use the facilities in small groups before or after instruction, but not during instruction. In the event of an emergency need to use the washroom during instruction time, the participant may choose a washroom buddy.

Drop off/pick up

  • ARYO participants arrive for instruction by various methods. Some walk, some are dropped off by caregivers and some are dropped off through other arrangements.
  • ARYO’s responsibility to the participants begins when they arrive in the instruction area, whether dropped off or walk-in, and ends when the instruction ends. 
  • Attendance is recorded and caregivers are notified of absences within 24 hours.
  • Families who prefer or require a secure plan for drop off and pick up must make arrangements with the program director.

Duty to Report

Every individual in the Province of Nova Scotia has a legal obligation to report concerns of abuse or neglect of a child under the age of 19 in order to ensure children are protected from harm. Failure to report is a criminal offence.

  • Applies to any person in Nova Scotia who has information, whether it is confidential or privileged, indicating a child is in need of protective services. 
  • This person is obligated to report the information to the child protection office closest to where the child resides. 
  • If the information is not reported immediately the law imposes penalties.
  • If more than one person is aware of the information, it is necessary for each person to report their information to the agency to fulfill the legal duty to report.

V-RESPONDING TO CONCERNS

Anyone who believes they have experienced or witnessed an incident in contravention of this policy can bring their concerns to an instructor, or the Program Director, or a member of the Board. Concerns can be reported in person or by email. 

When feedback or observations indicate that there has been a breach or violation of ARYO policy, the person taking the complaint will:

  1. Document the incident
  2. Gather all relevant information
  3. Determine how to proceed based on the incident and who was involved

i-Questions

  • Was anyone injured or harmed by the incident? 
    • Was it a child abuse reportable incident?
    • Who will be involved in the investigation and resolution?
    • Will this be resolved by conversation, mediation, or discipline?
    • Other investigation as required

ii-Responses

  • Provide first aid/comfort as required
    • Contact caregiver as needed
    • Inform the offending person(s) involved of the specific breach/violation and why it is not acceptable behaviour
    • Provide an opportunity for conversation, reparation or mediation
    • Provide training to the offender (if appropriate) or
    • Remove the offending person from participation with ARYO
    • Report a child abuse incident to authorities (as above, section IV)
    • Other responses as required

VI-IMPLEMENTATION

In order to successfully implement this policy, and to ensure that ARYO creates an environment of respect and well being, this policy will be conveyed to all ARYO participants in the following ways:

  • Participants and families:   a copy of the policy will be provided at registration and reviewed at an orientation session at the beginning of term. The policy is available for consultation on our website.
  • Staff and volunteers:  Policy is provided as part of the employment contract.  Program Director will review this policy with staff and volunteers as part of the orientation preceding the first lesson of the season or at the time they join the organization.
  • Board: The board will review the policy annually at the August meeting that precedes the start of a new term.