St. Joseph Catholic School

Little Lambs through 8th Grade

Faith, Family & Education

Standards of Ethical Conduct

Standards of Ethical Conduct
St. Joseph Catholic School

Child Protective Investigations

Florida law provides that any person who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused by a parent, legal custodian, caregiver or other person responsible for the child’s welfare must report such knowledge to the Department of Children and Families (DCF). The school will cooperate with all child protective investigations by DCF or the local law enforcement agency.

Reports should be made to Florida’s Department of Children and Families by calling the Abuse Hotline at: 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873). Child protective investigations by DCF or local law enforcement agencies sometimes include interviews of students at school and may occur without advance notice. When it is reasonably possible, the school will seek to notify the parents that their child has been asked to participate in a child protective investigation. The school may also request the presence of a school staff member during investigative interviews on school property. However, please note that, under Florida law, DCF and local law enforcement have the discretion to conduct unannounced interviews and to disallow school staff member’s presence during these interviews.


Policy and Procedural Guidelines for The Diocese of Palm Beach Relating to Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults.


The Diocese of Palm Beach is committed to the wellbeing of those who are served by the Church. The People of God have a right to be able to trust those who minister to them in God’s name. The violation of this trust through any sexual abuse by Church Personnel is a source of great pain for those involved and for the entire Church community.

The Diocese of Palm Beach will make every reasonable effort to prevent sexual abuse, and to respond promptly to all allegations of abuse where there is a reasonable belief that abuse has occurred. This Diocese also will comply with all obligations of civil and cannon law.

The Diocese will promote healing where it is needed, provide education, training and guidance when it is appropriate, and endeavor to prevent any sexual abuse of minors with firm justice and mercy towards all. No person, including clergy, who has been determined to have engaged in sexual abuse of a minor, will be allowed to remain in active ministry. Such actions violate Christian principles and are outside the scope of duties and employment of all Church Personnel. The Diocese will not tolerate such behavior. This policy applies to all Diocesan agencies, and all parishes and parish activities within the Diocese.

Care will always be taken to protect the rights of all parties involved, particularly those of the person claiming to have been sexually abused and the person against whom the charge is made. When the accusation is proven to be unfounded, every step possible will be taken to restore the good name of the person falsely accused.

Reporting Procedures for Allegations Of Sexual Abuse Of Minors

A person receiving an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by Church Personnel must immediately report the allegation. Our policy requires priests to report allegations that are made in a spiritual counseling context, even though the law exempts ministers from the requirement of reporting. The only exception to this is the confidentiality of the confessional. Reporting procedure is as follows:

 STEP 1 The person receiving the allegation immediately makes an oral report to 1-800-96ABUSE (1-800-962-2873). Notes should be taken including names, dates, and times, and a log should be kept of all telephone calls.

 STEP 2 The person receiving the allegation makes an oral report to the Chancellor of the Diocese of Palm Beach at (561) 775-9507, (cell 561- 373-7900) who reports it to the Bishop and Diocesan Attorney.

 STEP 3 The Diocesan Attorney reports the allegation to the state attorney.

 STEP 4 The person receiving the allegation informs the school principal, pastor, or the appropriate immediate authority.

 STEP 5 The person receiving the allegation sends a written report to the Department of Children and Families within 48 hours. Instructions regarding information to be included in this report are available from your entity’s pastor, principal, administrator, or the Chancellor’s office.

This policy is intended to establish requirements and procedures in an effort to prevent sexual abuse by Church Personnel and the resulting harm to the victims and the Church community, and to provide guidance on how to respond to allegations of sexual abuse. All Church Personnel must comply with applicable laws regarding incidents of actual or suspected sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable adults and with these procedural guidelines.

The school has a complete copy of the Diocesan Guidelines for Sexual Abuse located in the office for your review at any time. Please also remember that teachers just as other professionals have a responsibility to report Child Abuse to the State of Florida. This is a state mandate and we take this responsibility seriously. If St. Joseph Catholic School feels that child abuse is taking place, the proper authorities will be notified.

The Policy and Procedural Guidelines for the Diocese of Palm Beach may be accessed in its entirety at

Office of Child and Youth Protection

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Diocese of Palm Beach, Florida


The Diocese of Palm Beach (“the Diocese”), which was established in 1984, encompasses five counties in southcentral Florida. It consists of 53 parishes and missions and 17 elementary and secondary schools and serves a population of 225,000 registered Catholics with 80 diocesan priests and 40 deacons. The Most Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito, who was installed as bishop in 2003, leads the Diocese. A compliance audit of the Diocese was conducted during the period of September 22-26, 2003.

Training Requirement

All employees, educational support, instructional personnel and administrators are required as a condition of employment to complete training of these standards of ethical conduct.

Reporting Misconduct by Instructional Personnel and Administrators:

All employees, educational support, instructional personnel and administrators have an obligation to report misconduct by instructional personnel and school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student. Reports of misconduct of employees should be made to:

            Mrs. Mindy Miller, Acting Principal




Reports of misconduct committed by administrators should be made to:

            Danielle Weis, Assistant to the Principal




Policies and procedures for reporting misconduct by instructional personnel or school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student are posted on in the Teacher’s Lounge on the bulletin boards. This information is also posted in on our website at

Reporting Child Abuse, Abandonment or Neglect:

All employees and agents have an affirmative duty to report all actual or suspected cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect. Call 1-800-96-ABUSE or report online at


Liability Protections


Any person, official, or institution participating in good faith in ay act authorized or required by law, or reporting in good faith any instance of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect to the department or any law enforcement agency, shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability which might otherwise result by reason of such action. (F.S.39.203).


An employer who discloses information about a former or current employee to a prospective employer of the former or current employee upon request of the prospective employer or of the former or current employee is immune from civil liability for such disclosure of its consequences unless it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that the information disclosed by the former or current employer was knowingly false or violated any civil right of the former or current employee protected under F.S. Chapter 760. (F.S. 768.095.)

Findings To Promote Healing and Reconciliation

The Diocese has had a prevention policy on sexual abuse of minors, Policy and Procedural Guidelines Relating to the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults, since the mid 1980s. Revised in 1996 and 2000, this policy provides for an outreach program designed to provide immediate pastoral care to victims/survivors and their families.

The Diocese has a victim assistance coordinator, Theresa Fretterd, who has a master’s degree in counseling. A lay review board, established in June 2002, consists of one priest and nine respected members of the community, including a psychiatrist, a rabbi, a doctor, and two law enforcement personnel. The procedures for making a complaint of abuse are readily available in printed and electronic form. The Diocese has entered into no confidentiality agreements since June 2002. A Commendation was written for the Diocese’s Compliance Administrator Program, in which two representatives from each parish are chosen, trained, and made responsible for further dissemination of information about the policy and programs.

To Guarantee Effective Response to Allegations of Abuse of a Minor The Diocese has had little contact with local civil authorities regarding sexual abuse allegations because no violations of sexual abuse of a minor have been reported to the Diocese since June 2002. Diocesan policy, however, provides for immediate reporting of all allegations to the appropriate authorities. The Diocese does have a procedure for advising victims/survivors of their right to report allegations of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy to civil authorities. The Diocese has established a clear and well-publicized code of conduct for priests and deacons.

The Diocese has a communications policy, reflecting the bishop’s pledge to be open and transparent on issues regarding the sexual abuse of children.

To Ensure Accountability of Procedures

The Diocese has participated in the research study regarding the “nature and scope” of the problem of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.

To Protect the Faithful in the Future

The Diocese has implemented a series of safe environment seminars for adults who have contact with children through VIRTUS and children are also receiving appropriate training. As mentioned above, the Diocese has publicized standards of conduct for priests and deacons, as well as diocesan employees, volunteers, and any other church personnel in positions of trust who have regular contact with children and young people.

The Diocese has completed background investigations of all members of the clergy and for all diocesan and parish personnel who have regular contact with minors. The Diocese has not transferred any priests or deacons who have had credible allegations of sexual abuse lodged against them to any other diocese for ministerial assignment or residence since June 2002. The bishop and the major superiors of orders having a presence in the Diocese are coordinating their respective roles regarding issues of allegations of sexual abuse made against a clerical member of a religious institute. The Diocese has not had an opportunity to cooperate with other churches, religious bodies, and institutions of learning in conducting research in the area of sexual abuse of minors; however, the bishop has contacted the 33 members of the Interfaith Clergy Institute to open the opportunity for dialogue about the Charter and sexual abuse issues. The Diocese has established screening and evaluative techniques in the selection of candidates for ordination and established ongoing formation programs for priests.

Compliance with the Provisions of the Charter

At the conclusion of this audit, the Diocese of Palm Beach was found to be compliant with the provisions of the Charter as measured by the process described in Chapter 2 in Section I. One Commendation was issued.

Commendation for the Diocese’s formation of a group of individuals, chosen from their parishes, which are being trained to further disseminate information about the abuse policy and related issues to their respective parishes.

The compliance audit measured activity that has occurred since the adoption of the Charter in June 2002 with the exception of certain mandated actions found in Articles 5 and 14. Actions taken by the diocese/eparchy prior to June 2002 to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests and deacons are not included in this summary Report.

Office of Child and Youth Protection

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20017-1194

(202) 541-5413 / FAX: (202) 541-5410



                                                                                          January 02, 2022 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops