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Thread: Background Checks for School Volunteers?

  1. #21
    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunnyfufu View Post
    I don't think I feel like "who-cares or why-bother."

    I think I feel more that there are precautions in place. Aren't there already restrictions for people who have been convicted of sexual offences?

    I don't think that violent criminals are clamoring to sit down with a bunch of kindergarten students and help them write the abc's.

    Regular parents / or even the weird parents (every school has them) who are volunteering at the school, with a teacher in the room sounds VERY safe to me.
    There are, but how would the school know if someone decided to break there restrictions before it happened if they didnt do a check? In my experience there are many ways that a parent volunteer would be alone with a child, or small group of children. I have often been asked to take a child into a quiet place and read, review, supervise a test, etc. I have no problem with supervised volunteers not having checks, but if someone is going to be alone with my child, I want the check done. Again, in my experience, teachers know who has what checks, and will act accordingly (When subbing, if a parent is coming in my notes will include what they are able to do).
    The second part of this is my husbands job, but really my kids are not the only ones in this situation. When I say there are parents of kids in DDs class I would not want alone with my child, it is not because they are pedophiles, but because my husband has testified against them, or they are known drug dealers. There have been situations in our town where children were approached on the playground and given a 'message' for there cop parent, or a picture taken of them at an extra curricular. I want to know that my child is as safe as I can make her from this when I am not around. It would be an invasion of privacy for me to personally ask for all the parents info, so I am glad the school does it.
    Kyla
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  2. #22
    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freddieflounder101 View Post
    There are tons of parent volunteers at our school plus student teachers and I have never worried about it, nor will I. In a country that won't force proper background checks for gun buyers, it seems like an odd area to focus on and doesn't strike me as something that would be effective.
    Dont agree with this either, but I'm not sure what one has to do with the other?
    Kyla
    Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)

  3. #23
    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissyJ View Post
    You made the point that came to my mind. Aren't ALL parents allowed to enter the school to visit their child's classroom or to pick them up? Are you going to require ALL parents then to have background checks -- just in case they may stop in at some point? What about grandma's, aunts, or uncles? What about those coming in to speak to student assemblies on issues of drunk driving, fire safety, or sharing their profession?

    Are all those adults chaperoning field trips going to undergo a background check as well?

    What about parents kids may come in contact with that volunteer at their local sports league in concessions or field clean up? (I know coaches and umpires/referees are required to undergo checks in most organizations already.)

    My personal opinion it may be required as a means of employment or a regular volunteer working one on one with children... outside of that volunteers that are supervised should get a pass.
    Speaking of our school district, only people who are alone with the kids need the background check. So visiting, picking up, assemblies, no. Field trips, yes, and if you are driving you require a drivers abstract too. Sports leagues are separate from school districts.

    I'm not sure why employment should matter. I was in a school for a time where they had a grandparents 'club', where the same 4-5 seniors came in weekly to read with children of all ages and grade levels. The kids came to know these people really well and they were trusted adults in the school. To me that is not much different than a teacher when it comes to the child's perception of things.
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    Kyla
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  4. #24
    Prolific Poster bunnyfufu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftmom View Post
    Speaking of our school district, only people who are alone with the kids need the background check. So visiting, picking up, assemblies, no. Field trips, yes, and if you are driving you require a drivers abstract too. Sports leagues are separate from school districts.

    I'm not sure why employment should matter. I was in a school for a time where they had a grandparents 'club', where the same 4-5 seniors came in weekly to read with children of all ages and grade levels. The kids came to know these people really well and they were trusted adults in the school. To me that is not much different than a teacher when it comes to the child's perception of things.
    That is the current standard on the original question too.

  5. #25
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    I don't feel like who cares why bother. Nor do I feel like doing silly hoop jumping exercises actually increases my children's safety any. If you want to do things just to give you a warm fuzzy feeling of safety with no real impact, go for it. I don't need that.
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  6. #26
    Prolific Poster bunnyfufu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftmom View Post
    There are, but how would the school know if someone decided to break there restrictions before it happened if they didnt do a check? In my experience there are many ways that a parent volunteer would be alone with a child, or small group of children. I have often been asked to take a child into a quiet place and read, review, supervise a test, etc. I have no problem with supervised volunteers not having checks, but if someone is going to be alone with my child, I want the check done. Again, in my experience, teachers know who has what checks, and will act accordingly (When subbing, if a parent is coming in my notes will include what they are able to do).
    The second part of this is my husbands job, but really my kids are not the only ones in this situation. When I say there are parents of kids in DDs class I would not want alone with my child, it is not because they are pedophiles, but because my husband has testified against them, or they are known drug dealers. There have been situations in our town where children were approached on the playground and given a 'message' for there cop parent, or a picture taken of them at an extra curricular. I want to know that my child is as safe as I can make her from this when I am not around. It would be an invasion of privacy for me to personally ask for all the parents info, so I am glad the school does it.
    I am a little confused.

    So you say that there are situations when the volunteer would be alone with the kids, but that the teachers would know who should and who shouldn't.

    It's not the paid or unpaid thing I have issue with. I agree that people who are with the children in an unsupervised capacity should have a check. And they already do.

    It's the checking of all volunteers. That I am concerned about.

  7. #27
    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunnyfufu View Post
    I am a little confused.

    So you say that there are situations when the volunteer would be alone with the kids, but that the teachers would know who should and who shouldn't.

    It's not the paid or unpaid thing I have issue with. I agree that people who are with the children in an unsupervised capacity should have a check. And they already do.

    It's the checking of all volunteers. That I am concerned about.
    I am saying that teachers know who has a background check and who doesnt. Where I see it most is when a parent wants to help out, but the check is pending. The note will mention that, and then list what the parent can do to help that keeps them in the class, or copying etc.

    ETA: People are saying that they dont think any volunteers should be checked though, which I disagree with. To me, it is just one tool that we use to keep our kids safe at school. Not the only thing, but useful non the less.
    Last edited by ftmom; 04-18-2013 at 05:01 PM.
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    Kyla
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  8. #28
    Prolific Poster bunnyfufu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftmom View Post
    ETA: People are saying that they dont think any volunteers should be checked though, which I disagree with. To me, it is just one tool that we use to keep our kids safe at school. Not the only thing, but useful non the less.
    I wasn't reading it the same way. I know Blather and I think she was being brief and popping in to agree with my POV. But I shouldn't speak for her.

    I think everyone gets that unsupervised volunteers have BG checks. Again, I could be wrong.

  9. #29
    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    We have two different types of volunteers: parents and non-parents. If you are a parent at the school, you can volunteer for a whole host of things that don't require alone-time with the kids, including field trip chaperones you aren't allowed to be alone with any child, you always stay in groups. All non-parent volunteers, and any parent volunteers who will have one-on-one time with kids outside a teacher's supervision, need to attend an orientation session, get fingerprinted for a background check (they ask you to cover the $73 cost but will accept a small donation if you can't afford the whole thiing), provide two personal non-family or business references, and have a negative TB test within the last four years.

    I think that's completely reasonable. I might not know all the parents at school, but I at least know all their names from our parent directory so I could (have!) Google them if I hear anything or see anything odd. But most of us have no idea who any of the non-parent volunteers are, so yes, I think someone needs to do some checking on them. While I appreciate the intent to help the kids, if you don't have a child in the school, you simply don't have the kind of investment in the kids as the parents. And if anyone has any one-on-one access to my kid, parent or not, I want to know they have passed some kind of check. People who know they can't get through the hoops don't put themselves in the position to need to try jumping, kwim?
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  10. #30
    Posting Addict SID081108's Avatar
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    I agree with the above 100%!

    My initial question, which was answered, was if teachers are clear on which volunteers are background checked (and therefore allowed to be one-on-one with kids) and which aren't. My concern was that if the teacher doesn't know or can't keep track of that with all of their volunteers, they could easily let a volunteer be alone with a child (for example, even just walking a child to the bathroom or whatever).

    I'm okay with not having them on supervised volunteers as long as the teachers are well informed and the volunteer clearly understand that they can't be alone with a child for any reason. I do agree it would seem impossible to background check EVERY person who is in contact with the children at all, and it's tough to draw the line anywhere other than supervised volunteers vs. unsupervised volunteers. However, I like the idea of having non-parent volunteers always background checked.
    Last edited by SID081108; 04-19-2013 at 11:34 AM.
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