Saint Thomas takes seriously its commitment to student safety and well-being

We look to engage our students in developmentally appropriate discussions about sound decision-making and wellness. These discussions include helping students establish healthy relationships and boundaries, creating an environment of safety and respect for all community members, and offering ways for students to get help and support when they need it.

If you want to reach out about safeguarding at Saint Thomas, please contact the Interim Head of School, Ms. Amy Francisco, at headmaster@choirschool.org or the Rector of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, Father Carl Turner, at rector@SaintThomasChurch.org

 

Safeguarding Investigation

Our community recently received allegations of child sexual misconduct against two people formerly employed at Saint Thomas Church and Choir School in the mid-1980’s and in the early 2000’s. We have also become aware of child sexual misconduct allegations made against a person in another Diocese that formerly was employed by Saint Thomas Church and Choir School.

We have engaged a firm with significant expertise working with victims of abuse and educational institutions and churches, T&M USA LLC, and they are conducting an investigation. Anyone with information to share is urged to contact T&M by using this dedicated email address: SaintThomas@tmusallc.com or by telephoning 646-445-7748. (Please note that this is not a 24-hour hotline and you may have to leave a message for someone to call you back. The number is only for enquiries concerning Saint Thomas Church and Choir School). If you are a community member affected in any way by this information and are seeking care, please contact Mother Alison Turner, who will discuss care options with you. She can be reached at aturner@SaintThomasChurch.org or (917) 674-1899.

There are no current allegations related to any current employee or member of Saint Thomas Church or Choir School and there are no current claims. We are making this public out of an abundance of care for our community.

  • We recently emailed a letter to all parishioners, parents, and alumni of our Church and Choir School. You can find a copy of the letter here
  • If you have any questions, you can find further information here
Safeguarding Policies

Saint Thomas Church and Choir School are committed to the safety and well-being of all children and young adults in our care, and our Safeguarding Policies demonstrate this commitment to creating safe environments. These policies, which are founded on the Model Policies of General Convention 2018, can be found here.

Moreover, the Choir School is accountable to federal, state, and local regulations, and it is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). It is, therefore, governed by further policies pertinent to the unique needs of a boarding school, and participates in reaccreditation reporting processes and visits from NYSAIS every five years.

Additional and supplementary documents relating to the practice of safeguarding will be uploaded to this site pending external review and the ongoing work of the Safeguarding Monitoring Committee of the Vestry. Our next institution-wide Annual Safeguarding Audit and Policy Review will occur in February 2022.

Steps We Take To Protect Students

We have a number of protective measures in place to ensure that students are safe and are empowered to know what to do if they ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Some of these measures include:

· All staff members and volunteers are background checked.

· All staff who work with students complete a safeguarding training program through the Episcopal Diocese of New York every three years. All relevant staff members review mandated reporter regulations annually.

· Staff members ensure appropriate oversight and supervision of students at all times while school is in session.

· NYSAIS, the school’s accrediting body, reviews student safety and well-being, including monitoring the protections the school has in place as a boarding school, every five years as a part of the reaccreditation process.

· Students participate in health classes each year with the Housemothers, taught at age-appropriate levels. These health classes include giving students age-appropriate language to use if they ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe. They also help students to understand that they are never to blame for coming forward if anything ever makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe and to know who they can talk to about any concerns they may have.

· The school creates a close-knit community where students feel safe and have trusting and appropriate connections with the adults in their lives. Mechanisms are in place, through the Head of School, Housemothers, School Counselor, and Academic Advisors to create pathways for students or parents to speak to staff members should any concerns arise for them.