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I need some input

Posted by on Feb. 25, 2013 at 6:33 PM
  • 23 Replies

I know that a lot of you ladies volunteer at your child's school, as do I.  I also know that the safety and security of our children is a top priority for all of us.

The Principal of our elementary school and I are working on changing a few rules for volunteers for next school year and I would like some input from you ladies.  This is a huge change for us and I'm sure that we will be facing some opposition from our volunteers as these changes will be costing them money.

Does your child's school require you to have a background check done to volunteer in the building?  I'm not talking about a driver's license scan in the office, but the FBI Criminal Background check and fingerprint background check.

If so, is it required for every volunteer or just certain people, like PTA/PTO officers?

To chaperone a field trip, do you need to have these background checks done?

Does the school or PTA/PTO pay for the background checks?

Thank you ladies for your help.

by on Feb. 25, 2013 at 6:33 PM
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by on Feb. 25, 2013 at 6:36 PM

If we want to help, we can without a background check BUT the volunteer cannot be left in charge of kids without a background check.  These volunteers may do errands for the teacher if needed.

If the volunteer will be in charge of kids (i.e. teacher steps away from the class, field trip, etc), they have to have passed a background check (fingerprints, TB test, and all). 

It used to be that all volunteers that help have to have a background check but when the district started making everyone pay for their background check (about $75 each person), they saw a decline in volunteers so they made adjustments.

by on Feb. 25, 2013 at 6:37 PM
Not at this time but the times they are a changing. I'm sure our rules with stiffen too.
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by on Feb. 25, 2013 at 6:38 PM

All volunteers in our school district must have a background check. I think they do it through the local PD.  no fingerprints are required.  You must have the background check to have any interaction with the children in the classroom, field trips, field day etc.

by Max on Feb. 25, 2013 at 6:43 PM

All volunteers need to have a back ground check done. It used to be through finger prints, but I think it's just from the driver's license number. 

Everyone who will be around the kids needs to have one. Parents can come eat lunch with their kids and attend class parties without it. But they can't work in the classrooms or library and they definitely can't go on field trips. 

It costs around $25 per application. So we don't check all parents who fill out the paper work because many never follow through and actually volunteer. A few weeks before each field trip we have to submit a list of the chaperones to the office and that's when they send them off to be processed. 

The school pays the fee. It would bankrupt our poor PTA. They only raise a few thousand a year. Unfortunately we only have a handful of parents who volunteer on campus. The most applications are from parents who want to chaperon field trips. 

by on Feb. 25, 2013 at 6:47 PM

 Only need if you will be alone with a child like in certain field trips-for PTA and classrooms and others volunteer items it is a normal backbground checi, the others are called level 2 for fingerprinting and cost 48.00 to do.

by Bronze Member on Feb. 25, 2013 at 6:49 PM

No and we are a HUGE district. They tried that for a second and no that did not work.  They do a D.L. scan which is more than just write down the number and if you are goiing to do overnights or be alone with students THEN you need a more intense background check (there are 3 levels of volunteering.

What you do is fill out a questionairre... I think they do a quick check with it and then they log in your DL for everyday kind of volunteering.  (bring snacks, lunch bunch, field trips).

by Tammy on Feb. 25, 2013 at 6:49 PM

 We are required to get our clearances (FBI) in order to volunteer for any jobs that require being unattended in the building more than just walking from the office to a classroom (so parents can help with a party without clearances as long as they walk from the office to the classroom and check out again at the office), but I work hanging artwork and making bulletin boards for the art teacher and I am all over the building, so I need clearances. They are needed for field trips. Anyone who wants to do a job where they are unattended in the building or could potentially be alone with children needs clearances (not just PTO) and we pay for them individually.

by Max on Feb. 25, 2013 at 6:54 PM

For anyone who says it's overkill, I want to share what happened when we started it. 

In the first year 3 registered sex offenders got fingerprinted and filled out volunteer applications. Another dozen parents with recent drug arrests also applied. We don't get many applying with records now, but at first they hoped the applications weren't really being processed so they applied. 

As a teacher I feel better about knowing some basic information about the working in my class and with my students. And as a parent I am perfectly happy to fill out the forms. I'd even pay the fee if they asked. 

by Tammy on Feb. 25, 2013 at 6:56 PM

 It's been a few years, but the process I went through was to get all of the paperwork for the state and FBI (and maybe one other- I forget), fill it all out and send it in. When one of the clearance papers came in (state I believe) I took that into the district office and then another paper came back (I think that was the FBI one) and I took it to a UPS store and got finderprinted there. I think that was sent back to the FBI or some database and then the school was notified that I'd had it done. Anyway, it took about 8 weeks with all of the waiting for papers from various places and getting them filed... and then after all of that I had to wait until the next school board meeting because they review each person and vote on giving them the final "yes." The cost was $60.

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by Silver Member on Feb. 25, 2013 at 6:57 PM

I don't believe our school requires background checks, but as far as I know, there are not any parent volunteers in the building on a regular basis.  We don't have parents in the classrooms - I don't even think our school allows it outside of a class party.  Parents can go on field trips and  attend performances and parties.  They'll sometimes ask for help with book fairs, field days and things like that, but those take place in the auditorium or "public" areas and there are other school officials around with them.

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