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SCDSB moves to limit background checks to volunteers with 'direct' 'regular contact'

Posted September 2, 2014

The start of a new school year is accompanied by the flow of parent volunteers whose involvement ranges from chaperoning field trips to non-teaching classroom help and school yard and lunch monitoring.

Currently, the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) requires all volunteers to provide an original copy of a Criminal Records Background Check which includes a Vulnerable Sector screening, executed within the last six months prior to beginning to volunteer. However, because those checks can take more than a month to return from police, it can limit the number of volunteers available on short notice.

This month, the Board is moving to loosen that restriction with an amendment that removes the word "all" and replaces it with "any volunteers who come into direct contact with pupils on a regular basis" will still be required to provide all the required crimincal records check.

Brian Jeffs, Superintendent of Business Services told Free Press Online the revision to the volunteers in schools policy is "intended to provide greater clarity for volunteers and school administrators."

The change follows on last September's revisions which now permits parent, community volunteers, educational assistants, and non-teaching staff to take over run extra curricular activities, which was in response to last year's job action by teachers, which effectively wiped those out in 2013. Those volunteers would be required to complete the Criminal Record Check process and the principal would need to evaluate whether the individual is qualified to run or coach the activity, and the volunteer would need to be trained. The training would consist of a centralized training protocol and course for coaches/ volunteers.

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