Visitor and Volunteer Policy – Part II

DeKalb Schools recently proposed a new Visitor and Volunteer Policy. A committee has been meeting to review all of the feedback and to make substantial revisions to this proposed policy. The “new” revised policy is expected to come back to the Board for First Read and stakeholder feedback at a later time once the issues brought up from the first round of feedback are resolved.

The administration would like to thank the community for their feedback. They have provided me with answers to some of the more popular questions.

Visitor and Volunteer Policy FAQ

1. Does the volunteer policy include those that may work for a school foundation. One of the requirements of the Foundation to be a tutor is to go to the local police dept and have a background check. Would this policy require us to go to DCSD and have a background check and fingerprints?

Volunteers can get background checks in other places as long as the level of the background check performed meets DCSD standards. The standards have to be checked by DCSD Public Safety. This is important to ensure the safety of our students, staff and stakeholders.

2. What is the cost per person of the proposed requirement?


3. Will DCSD make money off this and if so, how will that money be used?

The amount for volunteers is $36.50 paid directly to GBI and $4.50 ID card fee paid directly to the District. These funds are also deposited into the District’s general fund. DCSD does not profit from the cost of this requirement.

4. Do all volunteers have to go to DCSD for the checks or can they be checked elsewhere?

Volunteers can get background checks in other places as long as the level of the background check performed meets DCSD standards. The standards have to be checked by DCSD Public Safety. This is important to ensure the safety of our students, staff and stakeholders.

5. Will additional staff have to be hired to handle this?


6. Will a parent volunteer that has kids at 2, 3, 4 schools and involved in multiple clubs/sports/volunteer activities be required to do one at each school, one for each volunteer activity or just one for all of them? How will this info be stored?

The parent volunteer will only be required to perform one background check. Once they are cleared, their background check will be good district-wide. A hard copy of the information regarding the background check is stored in a secure file area located in the Public Safety precinct. Information is only accessible by Public Safety.

7. If the info is kept online, what steps are being taken to make sure the personal data is secure?

The information is not kept online.

8. How will the policy be enforced?

The school administrator will be responsible for enforcing the policy.

9. What is the plan to increase parent engagement among those that can’t afford this background check and fingerprinting?

The policy is being reviewed and revised to further consider developing categories of volunteers with the goal of limiting the number of volunteers that would require background checks and to limit the potential impact on parent engagement.

10. Will some schools have to use principal discretionary, Title 1, etc. funds to pay for these in order to get volunteers? I am very concerned that this policy will prevent many from being able to participate because of the financial expectation.

Administrators will not be required to use their discretionary funds but may be able to do so if they choose.

13 responses to “Visitor and Volunteer Policy – Part II

  1. I do not see a way to implement this that doesn’t disproportionately hurt lower income schools, which already struggle more for sufficient volunteerism, and also discourage poorer families from involvement in higher income schools, or involvement for certain volunteer positions, which already have obstacles put in the way for lower income families.

    Does this truly solve more problems than it creates?

  2. Will this policy solve more problems than it solves? Good question. I’m not sure if this is just CYA for the district or if some schools really have a problem and need to background check their volunteers. It seems like they are looking into finding a way to remove the background check obstacle for as many basic volunteers as possible.

  3. Colleen Rowland

    This is absurd. I have been volunteering at my children’s schools for 17 years and do so to support my children and the staff at the schools they attend. This layer will deter parents are reduce the volunteer pool, negatively impacting schools. I’m curious to know how many other school districts have something similar in place.? Instead of using resources for things such as this, perhaps the county would be better served in allocating more resources to securing graduation venues in a timely manner. #sofrustrated

  4. Burn. MomoCon beat the school district to the preferred graduation date at GWCC. To add insult to injury, MomoCon seems to be better prepared than DCSD.

  5. Stan, surely you are not surprised at the lack of preparedness of DCSD? I read about this and wondered what DCSD will do for graduation.

  6. It’s noteworthy that the Director of the Department of Public Safety emailed me today to let me know “Effective immediately volunteers no longer need to complete the Loyalty Oath” … soooooo … there’s that.

  7. @Stan,
    1. What is a loyalty oath? Never signed one but volunteer a lot. Don’t know anyone that has.
    2. It is beyond comprehension that DCSD could get the GWCC last year (and knew for quite some time before that that a solution to churches was necessary) but didn’t have the foresight to secure it for several years into the future. I hope they have already secured it for May 2020 and May 2021 at least. Graduation 2 weeks after seniors finish school is anti-climactic.

  8. Some volunteers do not have transportation, time, or funds for the required checks. Many schools have worked very hard to include and encourage parents of lower income and/or minority students to participate in school activities and Comintern roles. These volunteers include undocumented parents. The background checks are discriminatory and counterproductive to the success of our schools. Parent involvement is the. Inner one factor in the success of a school’s and it’s students’ academic achievement and success.

  9. Adrienne Duncan

    I had to go through the process of obtaining a credential to rent Dunwoody HS auditorium for an event.
    I can promise you that no one consulted DeKalb Schools PD as they were working out this “policy”.
    **Every** new hire of any level, as well as facility renters like me, has to run through that office to get background checked and fingerprinted, and a badge made. The office space wasn’t big enough for the amount of work they had to do. My badge was ready the afternoon that all of my information and prints were taken. So I had to make a 2nd trip down to Memorial Drive to pick it up. A minor inconvenience for me but a major hassle if you work a 8-5 job or don’t have your own transportation. (See comments above.) It was a miracle they got it done that fast. Even if it did have a couple of misspellings which tells me it was a rush job.
    If that office is down one person on a particular day, the work gets backed up and everyone has to wait. The office staff were fantastic – but they’re limited by work load and space. Even if the background and fingerprints are run by a local PD, they still have to receive and review all of the data and create a photo ID.
    AND — they are only open on days when school is in session. So if kids are off, you’re not going to catch a break and get your badge done. Ask me how I found that out.
    This is really not looking good.

  10. Hello…Stan

    Has the schedule for 2019 graduation ceremonies been posted yet?
    Inquiring minds want to know.

  11. The school district said they were going to release the graduation schedule a few days ago. I’ll post the schedule on Friday.

  12. My concerns with the volunteer policy was the unclear definition of volunteer. Would the policy apply to chaperones who accompany school groups on overnight trips? How about boosters who ride to sporting events with teams? If the goal is to make sure adults who have direct student contact have a background check, there are probably half a dozen other situations which are not covered.

    I think the proposed policy shows the level of disconnect between the palace administrators and the schools. The district “royalty” doesn’t know what goes on in schools. In the words of a popular meme, “change my mind.”

  13. As a former parent and current school employee, please consider the implications of NOT having a policy. I expect that those persons working with or near my children undergo a background check. As a non-DeKalb profiting venture, the cost is mandatory to pay GBI and for ID material. Should the district eat the cost? Maybe all or a portion, but from what budget? Parental and Community Engagement? Should the district also fund transportation? I don’t think so. The district may consider regional office placement which will bring the process closer to the community- maybe 1-2x per week with extra support as needed. Field trip chaperones, if under the supervision of certified personnel (1-10 ratio), could exempt the process, along with other activities where there exist ongoing supervision by certified personnel. All other common sense procedures and documentation/ID checks should continue firchaperoned events. I am pro Volunteer/Background check because it’s important our children are safe. However, we can re-consider the process to make it more accessible.