Junior Achievement (JA) serves youth. JA volunteers teach valuable lessons in their program delivery and especially in their conduct with students. Adult misconduct with or in the presence of youth carries serious consequences. Because JA cares that its volunteers have healthy, appropriate relationships with the youth they serve, it has established the following standards.
1. Young people look to adults for examples of appropriate behavior. JA volunteers must use appropriate language and model honorable behavior, such as respect, integrity, honesty, and excellence. Profanity or sexualized language or jokes are inappropriate when working with students, regardless whether it occurs face-to-face, over the Internet, or by any other means. JA strictly forbids violating any law regarding interactions with youth; e.g., providing them alcohol or drugs, or coaxing them into illicit relationships over the Internet or otherwise.
2. Volunteers must take particular care when touching youth. Most adults understand the difference between appropriate physical contact such as a handshake or pat on the back, and contact that is sexual or disrespectful. Volunteers also must be cognizant of how any physical contact may be perceived.
3. Interactions with students must both be appropriate and appear appropriate. It is expected that volunteers’ interactions with students are at all times appropriate and professional, and are strictly related to the role of business mentor. It is unacceptable to seek or engage in one-to-one meetings at any time. This includes electronically (email, social media sites, etc.), by phone or in person.
4. Volunteers are responsible for the quality of interactions. Students often find it difficult to state discomfort or objections. Volunteers must be especially sensitive to physical and verbal cues that youth provide.
5. No weapons of any kind are permitted on school or JA premises.
6. Social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) is a powerful communications tool. JA expects all volunteers to abide by its social media policy in all their communications on any social media site.
a. JA volunteers must communicate on social media sites professionally and respectfully, just as JA would expect them to communicate were they present in person. All communications with young people must be appropriate, both in terms of the student’s age and the relationship between the adult and student. Profanity, sexualized language or jokes, images of a sexual nature, or similar communications involving adult topics, drugs or alcohol, are never appropriate around students, no matter if they occur in person, in an email or text message, or on a social media site.
b. JA volunteers must keep separate any social media communications that implicate JA from their own personal communications. Young people may have difficulty distinguishing among an adult’s different roles. Therefore, JA volunteers must presume that any communications with a JA student will be perceived by the student as relating to JA business and must act accordingly.
c. In compliance with JA’s existing volunteer conduct standards, JA volunteers should not actively “friend,” “follow” or correspond with minor-aged students directly through common social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. The only social media interaction with students should occur through a JA-administered social media platform as part of a JA program and with the consent of students’ parents. JA volunteers should not reach out to any minor students through public platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social media platform not directly controlled by JA.
The aforementioned standards do not represent a comprehensive list. Other actions not included could result in suspension or dismissal as a volunteer. JA takes all complaints of misconduct seriously. Credible allegations of misconduct will be promptly reported to the appropriate authorities. During any such investigation, the JA volunteer will not perform services as a JA volunteer. If an investigation determines misconduct occurred, it will result in the immediate and permanent dismissal as a JA volunteer. Any JA staff member or volunteer who reasonably suspects misconduct must report these suspicions immediately to the appropriate JA staff person. I have read, understand, and will abide by JA's Volunteer Conduct Standards and Social Media Policy standards. By signing this, I hereby certify that I have never been charged with violence, or any type of charge involving a child or young person, or, if I have, that I have fully disclosed in writing the facts regarding such a charge to the JA office.