DeKalb Schools is asking that the Board of Education approve the new School Volunteers policy. Furthermore, the district is asking the Board of Education to approve $196,000 annually to run and maintain a Volunteer Management System. The $196,000 covers Level 1 background checks for 15,000 volunteers.
Last month Gevertz noted that undocumented people will not be able to volunteer. However, in accordance with the Visitor Policy, visitors must only “state their name and business” to receive access to the students.
I asked the district to get feedback from the PACs on this latest version. I also asked the district to define “Level 1 Background Check” and define requirements around what a passing or failing background check is. None of this seems to have been done, so I’ll see if I can get this policy deferred another month.
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.
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 two levels of volunteers:
Level 1 volunteers are non-district personnel who engage in supervised volunteer activity, such as volunteers working on playground construction, assisting with facilities maintenance, chaperone school day field trip, or assisting a teacher. Prior to service, Level 1 volunteers are required to submit a Volunteer Application and Release Form and complete a Level 1 background check. The check will include but is not limited to, a national criminal database search and sex offender’s registries.
Level 2 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 2 volunteers include chaperones on overnight field trips or any other volunteers who will have unsupervised interaction with students. Level 2 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.
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.
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them.” — Frederick Douglass
“Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.”