SCHOOL VOLUNTEERS Policy Code: 5015-R
School principals shall be responsible for implementing and overseeing the school volunteer programs in their respective schools in accordance with the requirements of board policy 5015, School Volunteers, and this regulation. The principal may designate a school volunteer coordinator to serve as administrator and immediate supervisor of the school volunteer program.
I. UTILIZATION OF VOLUNTEERS
A. Volunteer Assignments
Prior to the beginning of each school year, the principal shall consult with teachers and other school personnel to determine the school’s volunteer needs. The principal or designee shall develop a list of tasks or roles that are appropriate to assign to a volunteer. The list will identify any specific qualifications or training and the requisite level of screening necessary to perform the tasks or roles. All volunteers are required to undergo a screening process through the Human Resources Division and receive approval before undertaking volunteer activities.
B. Volunteer Selection and Assignment
Decisions regarding the selection and assignment of volunteers are at the discretion of the principal, consistent with the following limitations.
- Principals shall recruit, select, and assign volunteers without regard to race, sex, disability, age, religion, or other characteristic protected by law.
- All volunteers must be cleared through a reasonable and responsible screening process that meets the requirements of Section II, below, before undertaking volunteer activities.
- No individual will be permitted to volunteer in any capacity if he/she is a registered sex offender, has convictions related to child neglect and/or sexually-related offenses, and/or has felony convictions of any type. Additionally, volunteer applicants with non-felony convictions related to drugs, weapons, and/or violence within the past seven years will not receive clearance to volunteer in unsupervised settings with students. Other individuals will be excluded from volunteer service based on their prior history, including but not limited to criminal history and/or driving history, when deemed necessary to protect the health or safety of students, employees, or visitors.
- Former employees of the board of education who are ineligible for rehire, are ineligible to serve as a volunteer.
- Current school employees may serve as volunteers. However, no school employee who is classified as non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act may serve as a volunteer performing tasks that are the same type as the employee’s regular work duties. The principal may permit an exception when the employee is the parent of a student participating in the activity for which the parent is volunteering.
- A volunteer applicant who is denied approval to volunteer shall be notified in writing.
- Volunteers shall not have access to confidential data or be assigned to areas where confidential records or matters are kept or discussed.
- Volunteers shall not be assigned to provide instruction to students unless under the direction of a licensed teacher or other authorized staff member.
- Volunteers shall not be assigned or authorized to check out or release students from school.
- Volunteers shall not be assigned roles that require specific professional training unless the volunteer already possesses such training and/or any necessary licensure or certification.
- Volunteers shall not be assigned to administer medicines. This does not prevent a volunteer from administering medicines to his or her own child while serving as a volunteer.
- In addition to the requirements established by the principal and/or this regulation, volunteers must meet any standards applicable to their volunteer assignments as established by board policy, law, State Board of Education policy, NCHSAA rules, or other relevant authority.
II. SCREENING PROCEDURES
All volunteers are required to undergo a screening process through the Human Resources Division and receive approval before undertaking volunteer activities. Screening procedures must be designed to minimize risk to students and must be based on the volunteer’s role/task assignments, the degree of supervision of the volunteer by school employees, and the volunteer’s anticipated level of contact with students. Criminal records checks will be required for applicants who will have unsupervised access to students.
Tools that may be used for screening applicants include, as appropriate:
- reference checks;
- criminal history record checks;
- driving history record checks;
- home visits;
- orientation; and
- training sessions.
All volunteer applicants, with the exception of volunteer coaches (see item D below), are required complete an online volunteer application and receive clearance from the Human Resources Division before beginning work in a school or for the district as a volunteer. The online volunteer application is available on the school district website (www.chatham.k12.nc.us ) under the “Community” tab..
Applicants to serve as volunteer coaches are required to complete the “Classified Employee” application/approval process through the Human Resources Division prior to the first year of service. The classified employee application is available on the school district website (www.chatham.k12.nc.us) under the “Employment” tab. If a volunteer coach wishes to return the next year, a criminal background check and authorization from the Human Resources Division is required in order to continue. Volunteer coaches who wish to resume coaching after a break in service of one year or more are required to complete the full application/approval process.
Volunteer candidates must be notified during the application process that information collected by school officials will be maintained in a volunteer file that is available for review by the candidate and may be shared with others in limited circumstances as required or permitted by law.
Volunteers who are referred through other agencies are subject to screening requirements consistent with this regulation.
III. EXPECTATIONS OF VOLUNTEERS
- sign in and out of the building as directed when arriving and departing;
- wear a volunteer identification name tag at all times;
- respect strictly the confidentiality of students and refrain from discussing the performance or actions of students except with the student’s teacher or principal or others as directed by the teacher or principal;
- refrain from accessing confidential student or personnel records;
- follow all reasonable directives of the principal and supervising employee;
- remain within sight of a school staff member at all times, unless otherwise authorized;
- report behavioral problems to the supervising staff member;
- immediately report emergency issues and safety concerns, including suspected incidents of abuse or maltreatment of a child, to the principal or other designated person in authority;
- maintain a professional relationship with students;
- comply with all school rules; and
- notify the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources within 24 hours if arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a criminal offense other than a minor traffic violation.
Volunteers shall not:
- administer disciplinary action, including but not limited to corporal punishment;
- use physical force to maintain order except as may be reasonably necessary in extraordinary circumstances to prevent serious injury to self or others;
- take photos of students unless specifically authorized to do so;
- comment on or post photos of students on social media (unless the student is the volunteer’s child);
- transport students in a vehicle without prior written authorization from the principal;
- give students gifts, rewards, or food items of any kind without prior permission of the teacher;
- administer medicine to a student;
- take students off campus without written permission of the students’ parents and the principal;
- discuss student information with anyone outside of the school;
- use alcohol or illegal drugs before or during volunteer service;
- use cell phones or other personal electronic devices in the presence of students while volunteering unless such use is required to fulfill the volunteer activity; or
- bring children along when volunteering in the classroom during the instructional day, unless authorized by the principal to do so.
IV. SUPERVISION OF VOLUNTEERS
The principal shall provide for the reasonable supervision of volunteers. The level of supervision must be commensurate with the degree of student contact, technical skill needed, and risk of serious harm posed by the volunteer activity. A heightened level of oversight will be provided when the volunteer is expected to:
- have contact with young, disabled, or otherwise particularly vulnerable students;
- have regular physical contact with a student(s) such as when coaching sports or delivering health services;
- help or supervise students with or during personal activities such as changing clothes or going to the bathroom;
- have access to confidential information;
- use dangerous machinery or power tools;
- use a vehicle; or
- handle school funds or valuable property.
To facilitate appropriate supervision, the principal shall inform all teachers and other relevant school personnel of the requirements of policy 5015, School Volunteers, this regulation, and the list of appropriate volunteer responsibilities.
A volunteer may be asked to leave a class or school at any time by a teacher, the principal or designee, or the superintendent or designee. A volunteer’s services may be permanently terminated when, in the judgment of the principal, superintendent, or designee, circumstances necessitate such action.
V. TRAINING OF VOLUNTEERS
All volunteers shall be provided appropriate training consistent with their tasks and existing board standards. The training shall be developed under the leadership of the principal.
All volunteers shall be informed of the requirements of this regulation, policy 5015, School Volunteers, and any other policies or regulations pertinent to their volunteer assignment.
Regular volunteers (those who are regularly scheduled or who are anticipated to have more than occasional contact with students) shall be informed of the following policies and/or regulations or procedures:
- child abuse identification and reporting;
- prohibition and reporting of discrimination, harassment, and bullying;
- prohibition on alcohol, drugs, and tobacco;
- response to fire, medical, and other types of emergencies; and
- any others deemed appropriate by the principal.
Principals are responsible for maintaining records pertaining to the screening, training, hours worked, and assignment of volunteers.
Issued by the Superintendent: August 17, 2015 Reviewed: Revised: