While DOLLS is in no way affiliated with the school districts in which we exist, but because we utilize campus facilities and resources, districts generally require that one or more of their hired campus personnel act as a sponsor to our organization. Such custodial supervision does not represent the endorsement of the group by the school or by the teacher. It is common, for insurance purposes or because of state law or local school policy, that teachers or other school employees are required to be present during student activities.
The sponsor’s primary duty is to act as the liaison between DOLLS and the district in an effort to maintain favorable relationships between ourselves and the school districts. As district employees, the sponsors have an intricate understanding of their district’s procedures and standards. That knowledge will help keep DOLLS in right standing with those districts that have graciously allowed our girls to meet on their campuses.
DOLLS sponsors are not compensated for their time by the school districts or by DOLLS Headquarters, therefore sponsorship is offered as an act of volunteerism. Additionally, districts can not obligate a teacher to step into the role of a DOLLS sponsor. For these reasons, DOLLS greatly appreciates anyone willing to step up into the role of a chapter sponsor, fully understanding that in doing so, personal sacrifices are being made.
The Equal Access Act states that “employees or agents of the school or government are present at religious meetings only in a nonparticipatory capacity.” Because DOLLS is a student club that is religious in nature, school employees may be present as monitors only. While recent precedent-setting cases are beginning to indicate that sponsors may begin to have more freedoms in their level of involvement in the future (See Wigg v. Sioux Falls Sch. Dist., 382 F.3d 807 (8th Cir. 2004), it is the position of DOLLS, for the time being, that sponsors serve a facilitative role only, for the protection of that individual. Teacher-sponsors should refrain from expressing personal religious views or proselytizing during meetings. A decision to do otherwise is done at the sponsor’s own risk.
While a school may only require DOLLS to locate one sponsor to facilitate the club, it is our experience that having two or more women on-board is far more effective. DOLLS is a club that generally attracts leaders and members with many great and creative ideas for their chapters, which translates into a significant time commitment for the sponsor if taken on as a solo sponsorship. Having two or more sponsors will ensure that there is always one adult present for every meeting and event.
Sponsors serve the group by:
• Ensuring the student leaders, known as the 5 Main, and their chapters, remain in compliance with district standards and policy at all times. This includes but is not limited to adhering to district policy over
accounting, building usage, and parent communication.
• Ensuring the 5 Main, and their chapters, remains in compliance with the standards and policies set forth by DOLLS Headquarters. (See also Chapter Constitution and Officer Constitution)
• Keeping the officer teams accountable to their individual responsibilities associated with each officer position. (See also Officer Responsibilities)
• Managing records of membership for each chapter with the help of the chapter Secretary/Treasurer.
• Attending all events considered “official” DOLLS events put on by the chapter. If the 5 Main determine to host an event, and it is announced during All-Member meetings as an official DOLLS event, at least one sponsor is required to be present. This is required for the liability protection of DOLLS and for the school districts. This does not include a group of students associated with DOLLS who randomly decide to gather on their own fruition.
• Handling all monies and record keeping associated with the chapter’s financial account, available to them by the school district’s as a recognized student activity group.
• Communicating regularly with DOLLS Headquarters in regards to concerns about officers, district conflicts, et cetera.