California Senator’s Bill would Require Background Checks for Classroom Volunteers

Senator Steve Knight, R-Antelope Valley, presented his new measure in front of the Senate Education Committee this week. Senate Bill 565 would require background checks to be performed on school district volunteers.

Background checks required to purchase guns is a huge debate right now in the United States. Senator Knight is focused on another way to keep our children safe at school. Certificated employees are currently subject to background checks by the school district they work in, however background checks on volunteer workers are optional. If the school district does decide to perform background checks on their volunteers, then SB 565 is necessary to provide them with the tools to protect California’s schools form being forced to allow criminals on campus.

The way that SB 565 keeps students safe is by modifying the list of persons who are eligible to serve as a non-teaching volunteer aide in schools. More specifically, the bill prohibits a person convicted of a serious or violent felony, on parole, or post release community supervision from serving as a volunteer aide in the classroom, on field trips, or other school activities.

Senator Knight told the Senate Education Committee that;

“If we have certain rules in place which prevent individuals with serious or violent felony convictions from becoming teachers or teachers aide’s, it should stand to reason that volunteers, who supervise children in the same environments, be held to the same standard. A parent should have confidence that their children are safe and secure while they are at school.”

SB 565 brought up many good points to the Senate Education Committee, but the measure was held in committee to be further discussed at a later date. Committee members were optimistic about working with the Senator to amend the measure to a point where they would be able to support the bill in the future.