Parents Need to Know
Guidelines for Religious Education
Providing Religious Education and Sacramental Preparation for those with learning disabilities, physical disabilities or other special needs is essential for our Parish Community. Epiphany is blessed to have many highly qualified catechists to assist you with the needs of your child. Please contact the Director of Religious Education in order to make arrangements. Every situation is addressed on a case-by-case situation.
The Archdiocesan Safe Environment rules are strictly enforced for ALL ACTIVITIES where minors are present. All persons 18 years of age and older are required to have successfully completed the Safe Environment Training and Screening process before being admitted. This includes parents of students who attend Religious Education and Faith Formation sessions. If you would like to attend with your child for any reason, you will need to contact the Director of Religious Education and the Safe Environment Facilitator BEFORE attending.
Arrival: All students must enter through Bryce Hall. The exterior doors by the Gym and Parish Offices remain locked at all times while we are in session. Entrance through these doors is strictly prohibited. A designated safety-monitor is posted in the Commons Area to supervise.
Dismissal: Parents are strongly encouraged to meet students at their rooms. Students will not be allowed outside the Religious Education area without an adult.
WEDNESDAY EVENING SESSIONS
All students must enter and leave through the West Gym Doors. The exterior doors by the Parish Offices and the doors through Bryce Hall remained locked at all times during class. Entry through these doors is strictly prohibited. A designated safety-monitor is posted in the Commons Area to supervise.
VISITORS & GUESTS
Students are encouraged to bring friends and relatives to Religious Education, providing that the guest has permission from their parent/guardian to attend. Guests need to be of similar age because they will be iwith the individual who invited them. Guests are expected to follow the same Conduct rules, Dress Code Standards and Policies, Cell Phone Policy and Food & Drink Policy. Guests who are disruptive will be asked to leave. Guests who attend three or more times will be asked to enroll.
It is very important that children and youth attend religious education regularly and arrive on time. Each lesson reviews and builds on the preceding one. If it is necessary for your child to be absent, please call the Office of Religious Education at 405-722-0051 to arrange to make up the lesson at home. Your child’s attendance percentage needs to be maintained at 80% or above. Families with students who drop below this percentage will need to schedule a meeting with the Director of Religious Education in order to make a arrangements so the student doesn’t fall behind.
Teaching and learning takes place in an environment where there is mutual respect between all in attendance – the catechist, the students, and among the students themselves. This respect is exhibited through proper conduct. We expect no less of an effort from students than what is expected at their school from Monday through Friday.
Our Catechists, who are volunteering their time and effort for the benefit of their students, have a limited time in which to teach their lessons. Improper conduct by a student disrupts the learning environment for all, and cannot be tolerated.
A student who must be sent to the Office of Religious Education because of a behavioral problem will remain under the supervision of the Director of Religious Education or the Secretary of Religious Education for the remainder of the session. The child’s parents/guardians will be contacted to arrange a meeting with the Director of Religious Education. This meeting will have as it’s goal an arrangement (a Contract) to improve student behavior and keep parents/guardians aware of the student’s learning situation. If this is not effective and the student is sent to the Office of Religious Education for a second time in a given semester, he or she will not be able to return to Religious Education the following week unless a parent is present with the child during the next full session.
After this, if a student is sent a third time during the school year, we will exercise one of two options:
- A parent/guardian must sit with his or her child for all remaining sessions of the year, or
- The student will be asked to leave for the remainder of the year, with an invitation to join us again, repeating the same curriculum, the following school year.
Students are expected to dress in a manner that does not create a distraction in the learning environment. Expectations are for consideration and respect for others by using good taste. Ultimately, these standards of dress should support the purpose of student learning while promoting a safe, orderly learning environment.
No apparel, accessory (i.e., jewelry), or any mode of appearance may display, advertise, or denote any of the following:
- Gang affiliation or gang sign(s) or symbol(s)
- Alcohol or tobacco products
- Profanity or vulgarity
- Drugs and/or drug paraphernalia; including any related themes
- Sexual themes or symbols
- Racist overtures; hate themes or symbols
- Themes of death or destruction
- Violent, aggressive, or combative themes
- Other suggestive or offensive sayings or graphics
Students are expected to wear church-appropriate clothing to Sunday Religious Education. Students are expected to wear school-appropriate clothing to Wednesday session.
The following items are among those not permitted during Religious Education:
- Hats, caps, knits caps, or bandannas.
- Any clothing revealing the midriff, lower back, or cleavage.
- Clothing must not have holes, rips, tears, or cuts.
- Tank tops, haltertops, crop tops, muscle shirts, or spaghetti straps are prohibited.
- No undergarments may be visible at any time.
- Pants, shorts, skirts, etc. must be size appropriate and be worn at the waistline. Sagging waistlines will not be tolerated.
- Shorts, skirts and dresses (including any slit) must not be shorter than 3 inches above the top of the knee.
- No Heelies (roller shoes) are permitted.
Cell phones must be turned off during Religious Education and Faith Formation sessions and be kept in a jacket, pocket or purse. Students who are found by a Catechist and/or Aide to text message or make/receive calls during their lessons will be told to turn their phone off. If this happens a second time during the same session, the student will have their phone confiscated and held by the teacher until the session is over. Later infractions may require the student to surrender the phone to the Catechist at the start of the session, and receive it at the end, for the remainder of the school year. Catechists will be free to implement and enforce their own standards regarding cell phones, such as a cell-phone basket.
If you need to contact your child during religious education, please do not disrupt the teachingby calling/texting your child or entering the room during the session. Instead, please contact the Office of Religious Education at (405) 722-0051 and we’ll distribute messages or check-out your child for you.
FOOD and BEVERAGES
No food is allowed in the rooms during Religious Education and Faith Formation sessions. Bottled water is the only beverage allowed during Religious Education.
INCLEMENT WEATHER CANCELLATIONS
In the event of bad weather, please check local broadcast television and/or radio stations, and the parish website. All cancellations are at the discretion of the Pastor and the Director of Religious Education.
WELFARE AND SAFETY
Pre-K and 5th Grade pupils will not be allowed outside. Parents must come and pick them up inside the building. To ensure the safety of our children, please drive slowly in the parking lot.
CIRCLE OF GRACE
What is the Circle of Grace? It is the love and goodness of God that surrounds us and all others. It is the recognition that God is with us always and is there to help us in difficult situations. Through the Circle of Grace Program, adults assist children and youth to recognize God’s love by understanding that each of us lives and moves within a Circle of Grace. Your Circle of Grace holds who you are in your body and through your senses. It holds your very essence in mind, heart, soul, and sexuality.
The goal of the Circle of Grace program is to educate and empower children and young people to actively participate in a safe environment for themselves and others.
- Children/young people will understand they are created by God and live in the love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- Children/young people will be able to describe the Circle of Grace which God gives each of us
- Children/young people will be able to identify and maintain appropriate physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual boundaries.
- Children/young people will be able to identify all types of boundary violations.
- Children/young people will demonstrate how to take action if any boundary is threatened or violated.
Through the Circle of Grace program, children and youth are taught to identify and maintain appropriate physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual boundaries; recognize when boundary violations are about to occur; and demonstrate how to take action when boundaries are threatened or violated. Along with a strong parent component, the program teaches children that God is with them at all times, especially in difficult situations
This is our curriculum for all Religious Education. The material is available to preview outside the Office of Religious Education. Parents who choose to “opt-out” their children from this training are required to fill out an “Opt-Out” form which will be submitted to the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City Religious Education Department.
In November 2002, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (the “Charter”) to assure a safer environment for children and young people and to express the responsibility of all to care for and reach out to the victims of sexual abuse and their families. In 2011, the Charter was revised to emphasis the deep commitment of the Bishops to creating a safe environment and preventing the sexual abuse of minors. Within the framework of the Charter, the Archdiocesan Safe Environment Program was developed.
We, the Catholic faithful of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, share responsibility for the life and mission of the Church. Each of us is called to celebrate, promote and when necessary to defend the life and dignity of every person. This responsibility
requires that together and individually we treat everyone with respect, do what we can to see that harm is never brought to others, especially minors and vulnerable adults, and seek to bring healing for those who have been harmed. To help achieve this, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has taken the following steps:
- Appointed a Victims Assistance Coordinator to offer immediate assistance to victims.
- Adopted a Code of Conduct.
- Adopted and implemented age appropriate safe environment programs for the education of children, youth and adults.
- Established a policy requiring criminal background checks of all clergy and religious, those in formation for the priesthood or permanent diaconate, all church employees and volunteers who have regular contact with minors.
Ensuring a safe environment for children and young people is a continuous effort. The Archdiocese pledges to continue its efforts and work toward identifying areas where we can be more effective.
All staff members, Catechists, Aides, and all other Volunteers have completed the required Archdiocesan Safe Environment training. This training is in the awareness, prevention and reporting of child physical/sexual abuse.
To Report Known or Suspected Neglect or Abuse, Call the Department of Human Services Statewide Abuse Hotline: 1-800-522-3511
Reporting in MANDATORY if the victim is under 18 years old.