Background Checks for School Volunteers

Should all who interact with the public, especially children, have to go through a background check? One article in the Hilton Island Packet is ambivalent about this issue regarding background checks of school volunteer workers. The main issue, as stated in the article, is that the price of background checks for volunteer employees nearly tripled recently, going from $8 per person to $25. As a result, this has caused strain on the school district’s budget, as well as resulted in fewer parents and other adults wanting to volunteer to help teachers and accompany students on field trips.

As we’ve seen in previous news entries, someone who appears “average” and “not like a criminal” on the surface may be hiding a criminal past and, as we saw back in July in a post about background checks for lifeguards even some teenagers wanting to volunteer as lifeguards can’t pass a background check. As you can never be too cautious when handling and protecting children, background checks are necessary for all teachers and volunteer workers. While a background check may be part of the employment process for hiring a teacher, volunteers should pay the cost of $25 for the background check or the school should find a cheaper option.

Rates by background check companies vary, especially for the type of test. While a teacher should be fingerprinted as part of a criminal background check, for example, a basic background check should be sufficient for an adult volunteer. Although, in a sense, volunteers are under some sort of supervision by teachers, at times a volunteer may watch students while the teacher isn’t observing. Having a field trip volunteer abduct students is rare but reducing this risk can be done by having adults with clean criminal records volunteering their time.