We heard your concerns around Administrative Regulation GAK(1)-R(1) Criminal Background Check – School Volunteers. This regulation has been revised to make more clear the background check and fingerprinting requirements for school volunteers and to outline the duties of principals and the Office of Safety and Security (consistent with how I verbally summarized the changes during our expanded cabinet meeting). We are hopeful that this latest version of the regulation better fits the needs of our schools as we work to keep our students and staff safe. Please let me know if you have any questions about the newly-revised administrative regulation linked below.
Criminal Background Checks
In support of student safety, the superintendent requires that all schools and administrative offices identify and screen all volunteers in accordance with the following guidelines. Security clearances for volunteers must be renewed every two years.
Volunteers will be issued volunteer badges, which must be displayed at all times while on school property. All volunteers must complete and sign a Volunteer Release Form.
Level 1 volunteers are non-district personnel who will have no interaction with students, such as volunteers working on playground construction or assisting with facilities maintenance when school is not in session. Level 1 volunteers do not require criminal background checks. Prior to service, Level 1 volunteers will be required to sign a Volunteer Release Form, which will be kept on file at the school. Principals may use their discretion to order a criminal history name search of a Level 1 volunteer. Volunteers will be notified by the school principal if a criminal history name search will be performed by the Office of Safety & Security, at no cost to the volunteer.
If it becomes known that Level 1 volunteers have one or more prohibited offenses in their criminal history that would exclude them from Level 2 volunteer service, they will not be allowed to volunteer.
Level 2 volunteers are non-district personnel who will have supervised interaction with students. Prior to service, Level 2 volunteers are required to submit a Volunteer Release Form and Criminal History Release Form, allowing the scan of their full names and driver’s license through the appropriate criminal databases by the Office of Safety & Security. Registered sex offenders will not be allowed to volunteer.
Level 3 volunteers must be approved by the Human Resources Division and the principal of the school prior to participating in activities involving direct, unsupervised interaction with students. Examples of Level 3 volunteers include chaperones on overnight field trips or any other volunteers who will have any unsupervised interaction with students. Level 3 volunteers shall be fingerprinted by the district and have GBI/FBI criminal background checks on file prior to volunteer services. Payment for the record check must be provided by the volunteer or a sponsoring organization, such as a business partner, Parent Teacher Association or the school. Registered sex offenders will not be allowed to volunteer. School administrators shall have the discretion to pursue any additional screening methods, including, but not limited to, personal interviews and reference checks.
Exceptions to the criminal background requirements may be granted by the Deputy Superintendent on a case-by-case basis for guest speakers with legitimate, unique educational value.
Expectations of Volunteers
APS volunteers are representatives of the school community and role models for students. As such, volunteers are expected to adhere to the system’s core values: integrity, high ideals and expectations and sensitivity to the school environment. Volunteers must take personal responsibility for understanding the system’s ethical standards and applying them in volunteer activities.
All volunteers are expected to:
- Make decisions based on what is best for students in all cases
- Maintain honest, equitable, professional relationships with students, parents, staff members, community members and other volunteers
- Observe local, state and federal laws, policies, rules, and regulations
- Maintain the confidentiality of privileged information
- Support cooperation between the school and the community
- Refrain from using school contacts and privileges to promote partisan politics, sectarian religious views, or propaganda of any kind
- Safeguard school property, equipment, and materials
- Implement board policies in a spirit of good faith
- Comply with appropriate standards of professional conduct including, but not limited to, displaying appropriate behavior, language and attire at all times
Qualification of Volunteers
Prior to participating in an APS volunteer activity, Level 1 and Level 2 volunteers must complete the Volunteer Release Form. Level 3 volunteers must have on file within the Office of Safety & Security the required background check information. The school must maintain evidence that the volunteer has completed any required training, as well as a Volunteer Release Form.
Disqualification of Volunteers
School administrators with justified concerns have the authority to exclude individuals from participating in volunteer activities in their schools. Volunteers—including parents—who are excluded from Level 2 or 3 volunteer activities due to a disqualifying offense on the background check or sex offender registry may not participate in Level 1 volunteer activities. Parents/guardians who are excluded from volunteer activities may attend public events at the school such as Parent Teacher Association meetings and student performances.
School volunteers must sign-in and out in the school office and obtain a visitor badge in accordance with policy KM Visitors to School and school procedures.
Access to Student Information
School volunteers shall not have access to student information, including Infinite Campus, without express written consent from the parents/legal guardians of the students.
Date Issued: 1/10/2012
Revised: 12/22/2017, 4/26/2018
Dr. Marquenta S. Hall
Office of Safety & Security – Operations Division