Training will be required for any adult involved with youth activities

    The Crookston Park Board adopted SafeSport training for youth sports coaches, officials and volunteers at this week’s meeting after it was suggested by Parks & Recreation Director Scott Riopelle who recently took the training himself.

    Riopelle said any sport affiliated with the U.S. Olympics and Paralympics Committee, like hockey, figure skating, and baseball, are already required to comply with SafeSport training and, both he and City Administrator Shannon Stassen, felt it was “best practice” for Parks & Rec in Crookston to include the training for any adult involved with youth activities.

    “We are talking about little people so there’s no point in cutting corners; ensure safety and be in compliance,” stated Park Board member Becky Kofoed.

    Park Board Vice Chair Mike LaFrance added that volunteer trainer physicians should “be in on this, too.”

    Riopelle told the Times after the meeting that they will have a “significant number of people” that will take the SafeSport training in each particular season including parent reps, team managers and locker room monitors, coaches, supervisors. City staff and board members will also receive the training.

    When asked about hiring staff and coaches for youth activities, Riopelle said, at this week’s meeting, that there are background checks also ran when hiring, mostly done through the local police department and others, such as hockey, through Minnesota Hockey or the National Governing Body (NGB) through the Olympics.

    “Going forward, we will include all coaches (volunteer or paid), team reps, managers and board members to have background checks,” Riopelle told the Times later. “There are certain offenses that are set forth by NGBs that would prevent prospective hires from working with our programs.”

    “When we perform them (background checks) locally, we rely on the expertise of the Police Department to help in determining whether the prospective hire passes or fails the check,” he added. “Certain criteria are set forth for these checks in advance.”


    The U.S. Center for SafeSport is a non-profit organization focused on ending all forms of abuse in sport and have developed resources and policies to safeguard athletes from bullying, harassment, hazing, physical, emotional, sexual abuse and sexual misconduct. The “Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017” entrusts the Center as the exclusive authority to respond to reports of allegations of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct within the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and their recognized National Governing Bodies, says their website.

    The Center is a resource for all sport entities at all levels of sports from grassroots amateur sports organizations to professional leagues. They also have a centralized disciplinary database of records from March 2017 onward of concerning individuals who have been sanctioned and rendered ineligible for offenses.

    Minnesota has 38 people with violations and North Dakota has three people with violations. The database includes information on the date of decision, violation description, name of offender, location, and sport.