Montclair Schools To Require Criminal History Check, Fingerprinting For Some Volunteers

BY  |  Friday, Oct 31, 2014 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (3)

fingerprintThis month, in a letter sent out to prospective volunteers by Dr. Felice Harrison, Montclair acts on a 2007 law (PL 2007, c. 82), signed by Acting Governor Richard Codey, permitting schools to require criminal history record checks for individuals, who on an unpaid voluntary basis, providing services that involve regular contact with pupils. Per the law, Montclair Board of Education says it will be responsible for all fees associated with fingerprinting process/background check for these individuals.

Other volunteers, who will only have contact with pupils on a one-time basis can complete a volunteer form instead, which requires them to swear/affirm that they have not been convicted of any crime in the first or second degree, and that they do not have charges pending for crimes including sexual offense/child molestation; habitual use, sale or manufacture of a controlled dangerous substance; kidnapping; terroristic threats, etc. At no time should these volunteers be alone with pupils. One or more school staff members should always be present.

What do you think?

3 Comments

  1. POSTED BY silverleaf  |  October 31, 2014 @ 11:23 am

    This decision is a no brainer, IMO. The protection and safety of our children while in the classroom should be of the highest priority. No prior background checks on volunteers? I would have thought this was already being done.

  2. POSTED BY agideon  |  October 31, 2014 @ 11:51 am

    I spend a fair amount of time in the schools, occasionally interacting with kids (ie. in libraries). I love it, and I encourage any parent than can to be involved in this fantastic and hands-on way.

    That said, having seen the ease with which I’ve been granted access over the years, I have wondered if perhaps it is too easy. Could anyone just walk in and…whatever?

    I think this a terrific idea. Hopefully, it will make absolutely no difference whatsoever. In that, it’ll be just like various forms of insurance for which I gladly pay.

    …Andrew

  3. POSTED BY qby33  |  October 31, 2014 @ 5:19 pm

    It was a law made way back in 2007 signed by Acting Gov. Richard Codey. Why the district is finally enforcing it now, we will probably never know. I find it interesting that the district is reimbursing the parents who choose to do this. The fact is the district has yet to pay the Paraprofessionals for their extra day worked beyond their contract hours (on Columbus Day). Also, when Paraprofessionals, teachers and other staff are hired, they were required to pay for it themselves!

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And we can get this project completed in time for Montclair's sesquicentennial when we can stick a fork into historic preservation as a public policy.

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