Additional Information for Volunteers
The recently enacted Act 15 of 2015 amends the Child Protective Services Law to modify clearance requirements for unpaid volunteers in schools. The most significant change provided by Act 15 is the definition of “direct contact with children” as involving “routine interaction” which is defined as regular and repeated contact with children that is integral to volunteer responsibilities. This change in definition eliminates the necessity of clearances for those volunteers having only limited or occasional contact with children, such as non-overnight field trip chaperones. The Act also extends the period of time after which program volunteer clearances must be renewed, to five (5) years.
The Freeport Area School District Board of School Directors has adopted revised Policy No. 916 School Volunteers to comply with Act 15.
The following is a brief summary of the requirements applicable to school volunteers under the revised Policy:
Volunteers who have care, supervision, guidance or control of children and routine interaction with children must comply with the following prior to commencing volunteer service:
1. Provide a Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check (Act 34);
2. Provide a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History (ChildLine) Clearance (Act 151); and
3. Provide a Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Background Check
(or, if the volunteer is a 10+ year resident of Pennsylvania, submit a Program Volunteer Affidavit
(Policy Attachment 1)) (Act 114).
In addition, all Athletics program volunteers, as well as those non-Athletics program volunteers who have direct contact with children for ten (10) or more hours per week, must provide a report of tuberculosis (TB) examination performed within the prior three (3) months, in accordance with regulations of the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Examples of those volunteers who must provide these clearances include: volunteer tutors; volunteers who assist on the coaching staff of an athletic team; volunteer athletic trainers or equipment managers (excluding District students serving in those capacities); choreographers, musicians and other individuals who provide instruction to students in the marching band or school musical; and overnight field trip chaperones.
A volunteer who comes to a school infrequently, works only in the presence of a teacher/administrator when with students and who does not supervise, control or have routine interaction with children is not required to provide clearances. Examples of those volunteers who are not required to provide clearances include: individuals who volunteer to assist in the planning or conducting of classroom celebrations; non-overnight field trip chaperones; guest speakers; concert/performance ushers and individuals who help manage, officiate or perform functions ancillary to an athletic event or extracurricular activity.
Final determination of a volunteer’s status is the responsibility of the principal. Otherwise, any questions concerning these requirements should be directed to the Superintendent.
Please note that Policy No. 916 requires that each volunteer (regardless of status) must receive a copy of the Policy and complete and sign an acknowledgement of receipt (Policy Attachment 2).
Once the required clearances are on file with the School District, the program volunteer will be required, on an annual basis, to sign an affirmation (Policy Attachment 3) that he or she has not perpetrated or been convicted of any offense that would preclude his or her employment by the School District under Act 34, Act 114 or Act 151. Program volunteers are required to renew their clearances every five years.