Confusion over background checks, fingerprinting for school volunteers

LAS VEGAS - The Clark County School District will begin the new academic year without the much discussed social media policy.

The board of trustees was scheduled to vote on the matter during Thursday night's meeting but decided to push it back.

The same policy also includes a requirement by a new state law that volunteers at the schools undergo fingerprinting and background checks.

However, the law doesn't clarify who is considered a volunteer and who will pay for it.

There's a company offering the service to volunteers at a cheaper price, but only if the school district allows it. By state law, volunteers at public and private schools will now have to undergo fingerprinting and background checks after state leaders approved Senate Bill 287 in May.

But the Clark County School District Board of Trustees is asking the state for clarification on who is considered a volunteer.

"They're getting back and they're going to clarify that so hopefully we can get it before the next board meeting and implement the whole policy," said Trustee Kevin Child, District D.

The 'whole policy' includes rules on how teachers interact with students on social media. CCSD came under scrutiny after 13 employees were arrested for having inappropriate relationships with students last school year.

"So, we don't have to do one and the other. So, need to merge them together, make sure that both of them work simultaneously," Child said.

Senate Bill 287 also does not clarify who is financially responsible for the background checks, which are now required every five years for a "volunteer who is likely to have unsupervised or regular contact with pupils."

"If we can prevent a pedophile from being around our children and volunteering, in that case, then it's worth going through this process," said Monica Pappas, Fingerprinting Express.

As the co-owner of Fingerprinting Express, she has reached out to CCSD offering the service to volunteers for $47.

Currently, the school district does their own background checks and charges $60 for employees.

"We currently provide all the fingerprint background checks for all the volunteers and applicants for the Carson City School District and for the overflow for Washoe County School District, as well," she said.

Meanwhile, it's also unclear if CCSD will allow volunteers on campus come Monday, on the first day of school.
And if they do, will they be violating state law?

"These are the things we worry about when the state legislator wants to be, have more parent involvement. This might hurt it, but again, I don't think they understood that and I don't think they were going to harm anything," Child said.

The board of trustees does not know when they might vote on the policy. It all depends on when they get clarification from the state.

 

 


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