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6.4—VOLUNTEERS

Enlisting the support of volunteers is a way in which the District can expand the scope of resources and knowledge available to enrich the students’ educational experiences, while strengthening the relationship between the school and the community. Volunteers can also perform non-instructional tasks that allow licensed personnel more time to devote to instruction.

The Superintendent shall be responsible for establishing and maintaining a program to coordinate the services volunteers are willing and able to contribute with the needs of District personnel. The program shall establish guidelines to ensure volunteers are aware of pertinent District policies and rules. Volunteers who violate school policies or rules or knowingly allow students to violate school rules may be asked to leave the school campus. The guidelines should also include provision for evaluation of the volunteer program and a method for soliciting suggestions from both the volunteers and staff for its improvement.

All volunteers who intend to act as head coaches or assistant coaches must:

1)Be at least twenty-two (22) years of age;

2)Not be a member of the board of directors of the District or the spouse of a member of the board of directors of the District; and

3)Meet the requirements adopted by the Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) to volunteer for any athletics program for grades 7-12.

A volunteer may act as a head coach in all varsity junior and senior high sports administered by the AAA except in the following sports:

  • Football;
  • Basketball; and
  • Track and field.

Background Checks for Volunteers

For the purposes of this policy, “clear background check” shall mean that a background check was performed, as authorized by A.C.A. §§ 12-12-1601 et seq., and that a potential school volunteer has not committed any of the crimes or offenses contained in A.C.A. §§ 6-17-410, 6-17-411 or 6-17-414, as amended, with regard to both the Arkansas and national background checks, and whose name is not found on the Child Abuse Central Registry.

A person wishing to volunteer in a capacity that requires a background check may not perform volunteer services requiring a background check until a clear background check is received by the District. Once received, a clear background check is good for three (3) years; a background check renewal must be applied for and a clear background check received prior to the time of renewal or an interruption of permitted volunteer service could occur. A clear background check will be accepted of any individual wishing to volunteer provided it was conducted within ninety (90) days prior to the date of its presentation.

The Application for an initial background check may be made through the District administrative office. The District will incur the fee charged by the State of Arkansas for performing the initial check and any renewal checks.

A person who failed a previous background check may petition the Board for a waiver from this policy's requirement. The petition shall be accompanied by a signed authorization for disclosure of his or her entire criminal and child abuse registry history. In deciding whether to grant a waiver, the board may take into consideration the circumstance or circumstances under which the act or omission leading to conviction or Child Abuse Registry true finding, the age of the person at the time of the act or omission, the length of time that has passed without reoffending, and other relevant circumstances. If the Superintendent recommends a waiver be granted, the Board may, by a majority vote adopt a resolution providing an exception to this policy's requirement for a time period not to exceed five years. The board must consider this matter in open session, and may not confer or deliberate in closed or executive session.

The board shall not have the authority to waive the application of this policy to any potential volunteer who is a Registered Sex Offender.

Individuals who are required to be or who seek to become Registered Volunteers, as defined in A.C. A. § 6-22-102 et seq. are required to have a clear background check that includes fingerprinting and submission to the Arkansas State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Child Abuse Central Registry. They also must complete required training as specified in A.C.A. § 6-22-102 et seq.

Volunteers who do not meet the requirements as defined in A.C.A. § 6-22-102 et seq. must clear a background screening and the Child Abuse Central Registry. Those individuals include, but are not limited to, volunteers who—

  • Operate in a supervisory capacity over students while under the supervision of licensed school personnel;
  • Work one-on-one or in small groups of five or fewer students, such as a tutor or mentor;
  • Perform ongoing services in the schools that bring them in regular contact with students.

In regard to a volunteer as referenced in the previous paragraph, should an initial background screening indicate an offense as contained in A.C.A. §§ 6-17-410, 411, 414 and/or the individual does not clear the Central Registry but said individual still wishes to volunteer, he or she may undergo a full background check with fingerprinting at a fee not to exceed $20.00 and may exercise the option to petition the Board for a waiver.

Nothing in this policy precludes Searcy School District student groups under the direction of a Searcy licensed employee from working with other District students in a volunteer or mentoring capacity.

No information relating to the application for or receipt of a criminal background check, including that a background check has or has not been applied for, shall be subject to disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, as provided by A.C.A. §§ 12-12-1601 et seq. Requests for background checks and reports on background checks obtained under this policy shall be retained by the district for a minimum of three years.

The District shall maintain the following information on volunteers:

a)The total number, location, and duties of all volunteers;

b)The total number of annual hours of service provided by volunteers; and

c)Any reimbursements made to volunteers for expenses, transportation, or other costs incurred in connection with volunteer services.

Volunteers will be made aware that the Arkansas Department of Human Services considers volunteers for school districts to be mandated reporters of child maltreatment and will receive training on the responsibilities of a mandated reporter.

Legal References: A.C.A. §§ 6-17-410, 411, 414

A.C.A. § 6-22-101 et seq.

A.C.A. §§ 12-12-1601 et seq.

A.C.A. § 12-18-402

A.C.A. § 12-18-909(g)(21)

A.C.A. § 21-13-101 et seq.

Date Adopted: August 26, 2015

Last Revised: