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Triad Schools Require Volunteer Criminal Background Checks

5:40 PM, Nov 5, 2013   |    comments
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 PDF Document: Randolph County Volunteer Info web

ASHEBORO, N.C. -- Parents worry about the safety of their children all the time, especially when they're out of their sight. You want to feel like your children are safe at school. You expect administrators will protect your kids. However, some parents say schools can overstep their bounds.

A viewer reached out to WFMY News 2 after she signed up to volunteer as a chaperone for Randolph County Schools and found out she had to complete a three page application. The viewer writes, "It is...asking for job references, college information and, more importantly, to sign for a criminal background check to be completed on anyone wishing to chaperone a fieldtrip...I just think this is a terrible invasion of privacy."

Read: Randolph County Schools Volunteer Application

Another parent WFMY News 2 spoke to Tuesday sees the viewer's point. "I think safety is an important issue, but I also think there is a culture of fear around what happens in schools," parent Albert Meyer said.

Randolph County Schools Superintendent Stephen Gainey said the district revised its volunteer background check policy about a year ago. The superintendent said times have changed and that's why the district needs to do more extensive background checks on volunteers who come in contact with students.

"There's a liability we take on. We have to address these issues. We have to do our research," Gainey said. "We need to help other people understand why we're doing this instead of getting into an adversarial situation with someone who's trying to help us. Let's try to help them understand."

Randolph County Schools performs different levels of background checks depending on how much contact a volunteer will have with students. For example, if a volunteer will be unsupervised and off campus with students, that volunteer needs to interviewed and undergo a complete criminal background check.

Guilford County Schools and Forsyth County Schools also require background checks for volunteers.

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