Information for Parent Volunteers
The District continues to receive hundreds of school volunteer applications for programs like WATCHDOGS as well as from parents interested in chaperoning school activities.
We continue to use JD Palatine for criminal history background checks. Their system usually takes several days to provide a Background Screening Report. Sometimes, it takes up to a week. We have no control over this process. The volunteer completes the online form, and we receive the report when the contractor sends it.
It is not possible to do last-minute background checks. Thus, if you want to volunteer sometime during the school, you need to complete the online form at least a week, if not two weeks, before the event.
Here are some additional reminders about the volunteer program for you to review:
VOLUNTEERS MUST COMPLETE THE FORM ANNUALLY
Volunteers must complete the online volunteer form every year. We often receive calls from parents who completed the form during the previous school year and think they are still covered. We require each volunteer to complete the form at least once each school year.
WHO CAN VOLUNTEER?
It’s also very important to point out that some individuals cannot volunteer in our schools. The following people are restricted from volunteering:
- A person convicted of a crime involving children [i.e. possession of child pornography]
- A person convicted of a serious crime, including, but not limited to murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, etc.
- A person who has committed three or more crimes within the last five years*
- A person who has committed a felony conviction during the last five years
- A person currently serving probation for any crime
In most cases, a person who is restricted from being a volunteer can still visit the school as a parent, eat lunch with his/her child, and attend public events such as fine arts performances, grandparents day, or athletic events. [Exceptions include, but are not limited to, cases in which there is a court order restricting a parent from having access to a child and cases in which the person fails the Raptor visitor check-in process. Parents who do not pass the Raptor check-in process can still visit the school, but they must do so under supervision by District employees.
RAPTOR vs. CRIMINAL HISTORY CHECKS
You are probably familiar with the Raptor visitor check-in system in the school office. Raptor checks the person’s records to verify whether or not the person has committed any sex offender-related crimes. Raptor does not check the person’s background for other crimes, such as assault, theft, etc. This is why we require criminal history background checks for all volunteers.
WHO HAS TO HAVE A CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND CHECK?
If you are working as a volunteer who has contact with students, you must complete a volunteer background check beforevolunteering. This includes chaperoning a field trip, helping with Field Day, working during Project Graduation, selling refreshments at an athletic event, and any other situation in which you could have contact with students. On the other hand, if you are visiting the building to attend a booster club or PTO meeting, and you will not have contact with students, then you can simply check in using the Raptor system.
If you are not sure if you have had a background check this year, check with your school’s volunteer coordinator.