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New Policies Implemented for School Volunteers

All volunteers will need to sign a volunteer agreement, and some will require background checks.

Volunteers in the will now be required to sign an agreement, and specific volunteers will require background checks under the new policies adopted by the Board of Education Monday night.

“I suspect that this is not done,” said Superintendent Edward Forthoffer. “I suspect that we’ll continue looking at this policy in the future; we’ll make some tweaks. Once we put it into place, we’ll see what’s really working, what if anything is not working, and if there are some things that are not working, we’ll address that and we’ll tweak the policy to move forward.”

The first policy calls for the principal to determine if someone can volunteer, which is a change from the Board of Education approving them. School volunteers will not be required to submit to a background check, unless they fall under the second policy that was passed Monday.

This second policy requires all volunteer athletic coaches and co-curricular activity advisors and assistants who regularly work with students to get a background check and fingerprinted, which will be reimbursed by the district.

Eleven current volunteers fall under this category and others may be identified before next school year, Forsthoffer said.

“The recommendation from our policy writing firm is that you add the co-curricular into that because basically they are going to be there just as much as the volunteers with the field hockey coach,” Forsthoffer said.

Forsthoffer said the volunteer form all volunteers must sign is the step in the right direction. Some board members called for all volunteers to have background checks, while another board member wanted the background checks completely eliminated, and others wanted to remove co-curricular activity advisors and assistants from the second policy.

“I think everybody agrees that what we’ve put in place is better than what we had,” Forsthoffer said, noting that the approved policies were a common ground. 

The new form is an agreement that explains expectations from the district, and asks volunteers to sign off that they understand them.

“They’re [volunteers] providing a service but we still have to have some expectations because we can’t have it be anarchy,” Forsthoffer said. “The form is just kind of codifying that and saying please make sure that you follow the rules that we have in these policies.”

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