Ask Jack: What Public Rooms Put Children At The Highest Risk?

By Jack McCalmon, The McCalmon Group, Inc.

We are creating a child safe environment plan. One of our steps is to check public rooms. Are there some rooms more dangerous than others in regard to child safety?

A child safe environment plan is a great first step and part of any plan is making certain publicly-accessible rooms are safe for children.

Make certain that public rooms not in use are locked and that only a few safe adults have access to these rooms. If children are present in these rooms, more than one safe adult must be present at all times.

For public rooms that remain open during the day, but with sporadic traffic, like a school library or a gym, you should only allow access to children, if a safe adult is present. Adults should never lock these rooms if children are present in the room. Consider placing cameras in these rooms for remote monitoring.

Public rooms that require privacy, like bathrooms and locker rooms, present your greatest challenge. Because privacy is required, you cannot remotely monitor these rooms. These rooms should be patrolled often, during high and low traffic times. It is a good idea for an adult to stand outside the entrance, especially if instances of assault, abuse, battery, or bullying are suspected to have occurred in these rooms in the past.

You should also check bathrooms, locker rooms, or any rooms meant for removing clothing for hidden recording devices. Look for holes in ceilings and walls and check light fixtures for devices, which are often very small.  If you find a device, you should not touch the device, but shut down the room and call for law enforcement, discreetly. The device is evidence of voyeurism and voyeurism is a serious crime, especially since many of the illegally-obtained images end up in the dark web as child pornography.

Just recently, a former school employee pled guilty to 137 counts of voyeurism. He placed hidden cameras in a girl's locker room at a middle school and a female staff bathroom at a high school in Vancouver.

The final takeaway is that a child safe environment plan begins with the understanding that the more safe adults are present and vigilant in a public environment, the safer children are in that environment.

Jack McCalmon, Leslie Zieren, and Emily Brodzinski are attorneys with more than 50 years combined experience assisting employers in lowering their risk, including answering questions, like the one above, through the McCalmon Group's Best Practices Help Line. The Best Practice Help Line is a service of The McCalmon Group, Inc. Your organization may have access to The Best Practice Help Line or a similar service from another provider at no cost to you or at a discount. For questions about The Best Practice Help Line or what similar services are available to you via this Platform, call 888.712.7667.

If you have a question that you would like Jack McCalmon, Leslie Zieren, or Emily Brodzinski to consider for this column, please submit it to Please note that The McCalmon Group cannot guarantee that your question will be answered. Answers are based on generally accepted risk management best practices. They are not, and should not be considered, legal advice. If you need an answer immediately or desire legal advice, please call your local legal counsel.


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