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 Volunteering in Burke County Public Schools

Burke County Public Schools will recruit volunteers who contribute to the intellectual, physical and/or emotional development of students and to the well being of the schools.  If you have further questions about volunteering in our schools, please call or email Debra Story at 828-439-4323. 

SCREENING OF VOLUNTEERS

Before a volunteer is assigned to a task in a school, he or she will be screened.

A.     Purpose of Screening

  1. The objective of screening is to ensure, so far as is reasonably possible, that students are safe in school environments. Screening of volunteers is crucial because of the vulnerability of the school-aged population.
  2. Screening will be used to identify volunteers who may pose an unacceptable risk to students or to the school system.  The screening process is a means to assess the potential of an individual volunteer to physically or emotionally harm others, to steal or damage property, or to violate BCPS confidentiality procedures.
  3. Screening helps to:
    • Identify individuals who, if placed in certain unsupervised situations may create an unacceptable level of risk;
    • Prevent the inappropriate placement of individuals;
    • Exclude dangerous individuals; and
    • Exclude individuals who may be considered inappropriate for a specific task.

B.     Methods of Screening

The Board of Education expects individual schools to use responsible, reasonable methods to screen volunteers. The level of screening is dependent upon the task assigned to a volunteer, the degree of supervision of the volunteer and the nature of the volunteer's contact with students.  The level of scrutiny in screening will increase as a volunteer's contact with a student increases and the degree of staff supervision decreases.

  1. Screening methods may include:
    • Application for Volunteer Involvement
    • Completion of the Burke County Public Schools Volunteer Profile Form
    • Interviews by appropriate BCPS staff
    • Reference Checks
    • Record Checks (all applicants are required to have a criminal background check effective March 26, 2010, driving record, and credit bureau for bookkeeping, fundraising or financial positions)
    • Orientations
    • Attendance at district and/or other trainings
    • Drug testing required if transporting students
    • Check the North Carolina Sex Offender & Public Protection Registry

C.   Task Assignment Descriptions

Task assignment descriptions will be written before a volunteer is placed in a school in order to provide a framework to match a volunteer to tasks for which he or she is qualified.

D.     Non-discrimination

Burke County Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, ethnic origin, marital status or disability in its recruitment, screening and placement of volunteers.

II.    IMPLEMENTATION

The Superintendent shall develop procedures to implement this policy.

III.   EFFECTIVE DATE

The new policy regarding school volunteers was passed by the Board of Education on March 26, 2010.  (Policy # 5015)

All Burke County Public School volunteers working in any setting will be screened. The screening used will be based upon the specific task(s) assigned, the risks associated with the performance of those tasks, and the designation of supervised versus unsupervised student contact. The attached volunteer task assignments set forth in detail the various volunteer job descriptions and the types/frequencies of screening required for each task.

Responsibility for Screening

The principal or his/her designee shall assure that all volunteers are screened. An assigned staff person will review the work a volunteer will be doing to determine the appropriate level of screening. Volunteers who are referred through other agencies are subject to screening requirements consistent with those listed herein.  The principal (or designee) must maintain a record of screening data.

Burke County Public School Employees as Volunteers

Current employees are eligible to volunteer in the Burke County Public Schools and are exempt from the screening procedures.  No employee to whom wage and hour laws apply may perform volunteer services that are similar to his or her duties of employment.

Nametags

Volunteers must register in the school office at the beginning of each school visit. Schools must require that each volunteer wear a nametag while in the building.

System-wide Support

The Central Office staff will provide assistance in developing task descriptions and volunteer profile forms. They will provide training to implement the screening system. Central Office staff will also conduct reference and record checks when such checks are required. Any volunteer who is charged with a criminal offense, other than a minor traffic violation, must be reported to the personnel office.  If there is reasonable suspicion that either a criminal activity or substance abuse has occurred, an additional criminal background check and/or a drug test will be required.

No volunteer who refuses to submit to such drug testing shall be permitted to provide further volunteer service/s to Burke County Public Schools until authorized by the Superintendent.

Confidentiality

Volunteers are to be held to professional standards for maintaining the confidentiality of student records and will not be given access to student records without parent/guardian permission.  The principal or his/her designee will advise volunteers on the issues and importance of confidentiality of student information.

Parental Consent

No student will participate with a volunteer in a Level 4 activity or ride in a vehicle driven by a volunteer unless the student's parent or guardian has consented in writing.