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Teaching individuals with a crimnal history

Author Topic: Teaching individuals with a crimnal history  (Read 18902 times)

Offline Rob Poelking

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Teaching individuals with a crimnal history
« on: January 17, 2007, 09:50:03 PM »
Are there legal ramifications for giving martial arts instruction to individuals with a criminally violent past? Does the appalling nature of the crime have anything to do with it? If so, how do you go about protecting yourself and "investigating?"
« Last Edit: January 17, 2007, 10:30:50 PM by Rob Poelking »
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Offline Chief Instructor

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Re: Teching individuals with a crimnal history
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2007, 10:30:51 PM »
Great question! This will take some research. However, just off the top of my head, I do not believe many jurisdictions have a legal duty to interview or ask potential students about their criminal histories.

Ethically, that is a different story. If good instructors believe the potential student is using the art for dishonorable purposes, they should not accept the student. Of course, some of us have interesting ways of scaring students off...
Sigung Andrew Evans, KSDI #888
Hokkien Martial Arts, Topeka, KS
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Offline KajuJKDFighter

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Re: Teaching individuals with a crimnal history
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2007, 10:20:29 AM »
I ask everyones back ground, but if they have been in trouble and seemed reformed we let them trained.  I just can't imagine there could be a law against that...
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Re: Teaching individuals with a crimnal history
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2007, 01:12:26 PM »
I refused to teach a small group of kids that were known gang bangers.  I'm sure I would refuse sex offenders.
But I'd like to think I treat people for who they are now, not what they've chosen to do in the past.

One of the kindest gentlest men I've met, Walter Godin, who always greeted people with a warm smile and heart, didn't exactly have a squeeky clean record.  But he goes down in my book as one of the best Kaju people there was.  Love the sinner, hate the sin.

Offline KajuJKDFighter

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Re: Teaching individuals with a crimnal history
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2007, 01:17:05 PM »
Good point Sigung Jason..
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Offline Serene

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Re: Teaching individuals with a crimnal history
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2007, 03:09:02 PM »
I have taught teens that were in a rehab/group home. These persons were one step away from juvenile.

There was a concern for teaching persons that have already had some disorders. Therefore, I created a gang intervention program. This program consisted of discussions of learning to respect themselves, respect for others and accountability for their actions. Also, there training was more of boot camp style exercises as they are done in our Kajukenbo schools.

My perspective is not so much that people are bad. I believe people make bad choices and have lots of energy and no where to release it. The drills and exercises tired them out physically and the talks calmed them mentally. Now, the extra energy which was negative most of the time was now being released in a positive manner.

The counselors complimented that the days the boys were training were the best days in there homes. I did not teach them Kajukenbo physcial self defense techniques but I did teach them Kajukenbo mentally and spirtually.

Of the 60 young men that I taught for 18 months only 2 went back to juvenile.  The rest have gone back home and thus far are doing well.  Plus some have even joined local martial arts schools.

The legal aspcet the owner of the program did a backround check on me. Then, I had him sign the waiver that I have from my school for the group because he was there guardian. I taught at there facility.  They did not come to my school because there training was of a different need.

Soifua,

p.s. Sure there were a few that tested me and those few saw and felt Kajukenbo  - if you know what I mean.  ;)

Afterwards, the respect was not just given to me but to our art Kajukenbo.
It was a good experience.
 
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Terrazas Kajukenbo
American Canyon, Ca.

Offline Rob Poelking

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Re: Teaching individuals with a crimnal history
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2007, 03:35:48 PM »
I definitely believe there is an "intervention" aspect to any MA training. BKF founder Steve (Sanders) Muhammad did the same thing back in the early 70's with gangs in LA. The effect turned youths from a violent path to that of career professionals. It was very effective.

Personally I have different feelings towards dealing with youths who have gotten off to a wrong start or individuals who made bad choices at the wrong time and place vs. sex predators, spouse beaters and repeat violent offenders.
Rob Poelking, Black Belt, Original Method
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Vala Au

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Re: Teaching individuals with a crimnal history
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2007, 06:09:46 PM »
I have taught teens that were in a rehab/group home. These persons were one step away from juvenile.

There was a concern for teaching persons that have already had some disorders. Therefore, I created a gang intervention program. This program consisted of discussions of learning to respect themselves, respect for others and accountability for their actions. Also, there training was more of boot camp style exercises as they are done in our Kajukenbo schools.

My perspective is not so much that people are bad. I believe people make bad choices and have lots of energy and no where to release it. The drills and exercises tired them out physically and the talks calmed them mentally. Now, the extra energy which was negative most of the time was now being released in a positive manner.

The counselors complimented that the days the boys were training were the best days in there homes. I did not teach them Kajukenbo physcial self defense techniques but I did teach them Kajukenbo mentally and spirtually.

Of the 60 young men that I taught for 18 months only 2 went back to juvenile.  The rest have gone back home and thus far are doing well.  Plus some have even joined local martial arts schools.

The legal aspcet the owner of the program did a backround check on me. Then, I had him sign the waiver that I have from my school for the group because he was there guardian. I taught at there facility.  They did not come to my school because there training was of a different need.

Soifua,

p.s. Sure there were a few that tested me and those few saw and felt Kajukenbo  - if you know what I mean.  ;)

Afterwards, the respect was not just given to me but to our art Kajukenbo.
It was a good experience.
 

Sifu Serene,

You are a Godsend.  Bless you and keep up the good work.  The gang I refused only wanted to learn knife techniques.  Coincedentally, shortly thereafter one of em was charged with aggravated assault for stabbing somebody.  I'm glad that didn't come back to haunt me.  There probably could be some tort or civil liability to the one who trains these people.

Fa Fatasi,

Offline Serene

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Re: Teaching individuals with a crimnal history
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2007, 11:39:02 AM »
Sigung Jason:

Thank you - no doubt the experience changed me.   I truly had to be a believer of Kajukenbo to even consider such a task.

Sifu Rob:

Thanks for that info. Right - its like the bar we have that right too, we can choose who to and not to serve/teach. ;)

Soifua,


Sifu Serene Terrazas
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Terrazas Kajukenbo
American Canyon, Ca.

Offline Stan Kristovich

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Re: Teaching individuals with a crimnal history
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2007, 01:43:39 AM »
I would bet that a situation similar to a job application might help protect dojo owner-operators.

You will often see on a job application a question about any convictions, etc.  To answer this question is really voluntary, but a condition of employment that you may see on a job app is that failure to answer any questions truthfully during the hiring process can result in firing.

Similarly, if you make it clear up front, or even part of some formal application, that a person with convictions reveals that information before they start training, and that failure to be honest can result in dismissal from the school, then I'd bet you are covered.

I'm not a lawyer, but there are an awful lot of similar situations and usually it means the burden gets shifted to the applicant somehow.  That seems to give the organization some protection from any legal ramifications, because the applicant is making a willful misrepresentation if they lie.

Just a thought . . .

Regards,
Stan K
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Formerly of Stevenson Kenpo-Karate, Mililani, HI

Offline Chief Instructor

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Re: Teaching individuals with a crimnal history
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2007, 05:10:39 PM »
Lots of great points!

A school's application to train form can always ask potential students if they have any convictions. This should release the school owners and instructors from liability as they are taking reasonable precautions. It would also be an excellent marketing tool for parents to see that their children are training in a "criminal-free zone."

Myself, I would not ask those kind of questions. I believe people with convictions face a lot of ostracization as it is. I also believe this ostracization is a major cause for recidivism. In my opinion, having a question like this will scare away any person with a conviction. Perhaps that is the goal of some school owners and I respect that. However, I want everybody to feel welcomed in my school.

As for ethics, I am inspired by what Sifu Serene and Sigung Groff wrote. I also agree with them. People make mistakes and sometimes deserve the benefit of the doubt. Martial arts is beneficial. Every instructor worth his or her salt has a story to tell about a student who was heading down the wrong path and had the martial arts become a strong positive guiding force in their life.

Call me provincial, but I tend to take people at their word. I observe students and listen closely to them. Ocassionally, I get signals that bother me (like someone who wants to use Kajukenbo for dishonorable purposes) and react accordingly. 

Respectfully,




Sigung Andrew Evans, KSDI #888
Hokkien Martial Arts, Topeka, KS
http://www.TopekaKarate.com

Offline Serene

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Re: Teaching individuals with a crimnal history
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2007, 01:12:06 PM »
Howzit Chief: ;D

Good post.

Happy New Year to you and your family.

Soifua,
Sifu Serene Terrazas
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Terrazas Kajukenbo
American Canyon, Ca.

Offline patk

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Re: Teaching individuals with a crimnal history
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2007, 02:04:04 AM »

I'm sure I would refuse sex offenders.


Since "baby rapers" tend to use social arenas such as after school programs, sports affiliations, and the like to gain access and later develop a "relationship" with children in order to develop trust and then to do harm, I would agree with Sigung on this one.  Criminal convictions for sex crimes [or arrests for that matter] have no place where children go to feel safe and have fun.  Predators like these have no business being in a dojo.  That is just my opinion. 
Pat Kaley
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Offline Ron Baker

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Re: Teaching individuals with a crimnal history
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2007, 09:59:30 AM »
Are there legal ramifications for giving martial arts instruction to individuals with a criminally violent past? Does the appalling nature of the crime have anything to do with it? If so, how do you go about protecting yourself and "investigating?"
Yes, there certainly could be.  The standard, though, is possibly whether or not you had actual knowledge that a prospective student had a propensity for criminal violence.   That knowledge could come from an application or questionnaire that you give to each or your prospective students, or it could come from the student directly. 

The reason that it could--could--expose a school to liability is because the owner/instructor is someone in a position to reasonably know that teaching a violent person martial art techniques could be very similar to teaching a convicted drunk driver how to drive safer while drunk.  In either case, there's a high likelyhood that each student will hurt or kill someone.

The violent criminal is a little different because, as someone pointed out, people can and do change.  Today, though, more and more criminals are using legitmate means to further their criminality.   

I'd err on the side of my current students and decline to teach the violent offender.       
Sigung (Shihan) Ron Baker
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Offline Chief Instructor

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Re: Teaching individuals with a crimnal history
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2007, 05:28:16 PM »
Quote
Since "baby rapers" tend to use social arenas such as after school programs, sports affiliations, and the like to gain access and later develop a "relationship" with children in order to develop trust and then to do harm, I would agree with Sigung on this one.  Criminal convictions for sex crimes [or arrests for that matter] have no place where children go to feel safe and have fun.  Predators like these have no business being in a dojo.  That is just my opinion. 

I agree with the need to protect children from sex offender. Keep in mind that registered sex offenders have certain rules they have to abide by. This usually includes avoiding contact with children and providing detailed updates regarding their life activities with parole officers.
Sigung Andrew Evans, KSDI #888
Hokkien Martial Arts, Topeka, KS
http://www.TopekaKarate.com