Category Archives: Policy

New Visitor and Volunteer Policy

DeKalb Schools administration has been revising the Visitor and Volunteer policy since last year. They continue to accept, evaluate and incorporate feedback.

This week they proposed the latest version of the policy. They will continue to take feed back this month and the board will take another look at it in April.

My Feedback

Level 2 volunteer requirements need to be reworded, I find it somewhat confusing. I’m also thinking it is still a bit restrictive.

The administration is looking to move this from policy to regulation, which means the Superintendent can change this at will. Orson and I asked them to move it back to policy, so it can be set in stone. They can move into regulation anything that really needs to be flexible.

I would also like the school district to accept secure transfers of background checks from other police departments.

Your Feedback

Let me know your thoughts and questions about the new revision. Please comment on this post here. Also, you can provide feedback directly to the district here:

School Volunteers Policy – Feedback


Volunteers Policy

The DeKalb County Board of Education recognizes the importance of visitors and volunteers who play an important role in supporting, encouraging, and advancing student achievement. Parents and others who wish to support student achievement are encouraged to participate in parent and community engagement activities at approved school or district-sponsored activities.

In support of student safety, all schools and administrative offices are required to identify and screen all volunteers in accordance with the supporting administrative regulation.

The superintendent or designee shall establish such procedure and necessary regulations to administer this policy.

Volunteers Regulation

Volunteers are a valued part of the DeKalb County School District and contribute to overall student academic achievement, school climate and culture. The following regulation defines volunteer, outlines volunteer levels, and provides volunteer expectations to promote student safety.

Definitions

Volunteers are non-paid persons authorized to perform volunteer services at approved school or district-sponsored activities. All volunteers must complete, the volunteer registration process which includes submission of the Volunteer Application and Release Form. Volunteers who will come into direct contact with students who are not their own must also complete mandated reporter training per O.C.G.A. § 19-7-5 prior to participating in any volunteer activities. The school must maintain documentation that the volunteer has completed the Volunteer Application and Release Form, mandated reporter training and any other required training. The documents will be maintained at the school for the current academic year.

Volunteers will be issued volunteer badges, which must be displayed at all times while on school property. School volunteers must sign-in and out in the school office and obtain a visitor badge in accordance with policy KM – Visitors to School and school procedures.

The District recognizes the following three levels of volunteers:

Level 1
Level 1 volunteers are non-district personnel who engage in supervised volunteer activity but will have no interaction with students, such as volunteers working on playground construction or assisting with facilities maintenance when school is not in session. Level 1 volunteers do not require criminal background checks. Prior to service, Level 1 volunteers will be required to sign a Volunteer Application and Release Form, which will be kept on file at the school. Registered sex offenders will not be allowed to volunteer.

Level 2
Level 2 volunteers are non-district personnel who will have supervised interaction with students such as school day field trip chaperones or assisting a teacher. Prior to service, Level 2 volunteers are required to submit a Volunteer Application and Release Form and Criminal History Release Form, and GBI criminal background check. Registered sex offenders will not be allowed to volunteer.

Level 3
Level 3 volunteers must be approved by the Department of Public Safety and the principal of the school prior to participating in activities involving direct, unsupervised interaction with students. Examples of Level 3 volunteers include chaperones on overnight field trips or any other volunteers who will have unsupervised interaction with students. Level 3 volunteers shall be fingerprinted by the district and have GBI/FBI criminal background checks on file prior to volunteer services. This background check requires a fee and must be conducted by the Department of Public Safety. Registered sex offenders will not be allowed to volunteer.

Exceptions
This policy does not apply to individuals who are working pursuant to a vendor contract with the district to provide services. Such individuals must follow the terms of their company’s vendor agreement with the district.

Expectations of Volunteers
Volunteers must adhere to the same guidelines set forth for employees and should not engage in inappropriate communication and/or contact with students at any time.

In accordance with OCGA 19-7-5(c) (1), volunteers are considered mandated reporters in cases of suspected abuse. Reports of suspected abuse should be made to the school administrator or their designee.

Disqualification of Volunteers
Parents/guardians who are excluded from volunteer activities may attend public events at the school such as Parent Teacher Association meetings and student activities directly related to their student. See Board Policy KM: Visitors to Schools

Access to Student Information
School volunteers shall not have access to student information, including Infinite Campus, without express written consent from the parents/legal guardians of the students.

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?

$41.00

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?

No

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.