Sullivan schools may require background checks for volunteers

Rick Wagner • Apr 10, 2009 at 12:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Parents and others who volunteer in Sullivan County schools soon may have to undergo a criminal background check through the Department of Human Services.

The Sullivan County Board of Education Thursday night considered but took no action on that draft proposal, one of three policy reviews on the agenda.

Board attorney Pat Hull said the change, while controversial in some circles, is in line with requirements for others who interact with children in schools to have the background checks.

The school system would foot the bill for the background checks.

According to the draft policy, the background checks would be required of any volunteers — including parents — who have unsupervised contact with students and will be “filling a regular and ongoing position assignment at the school” such as a clinic volunteer or coach.

Someone who is already volunteering may continue pending results of the background check.

The policy will be reviewed by school board members and voted on by the BOE in May.

Also proposed is a new policy on Student Health Services and revamping and clarifying a facilities use policy that already exists.

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