Enlisting the support of volunteers is a way 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; and
2) Meet the requirements adopted by the Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) to volunteer for any athletics program for grades 7-12.
A member of the board of directors of the District or the spouse of a member of the board of directors of the District may not be a registered volunteer for the District unless a majority of the disinterested members of the Board of Directors approves a resolution for the board member or board member’s spouse to be a registered volunteer. The resolution approving the board member or board member’s spouse to be a registered volunteer shall be effective for only one (1) school year.
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:
Track and field.
Background Checks for Volunteers
For the purposes of this policy, “clear background check” means that
o A background check was performed on the potential school volunteer in accordance with A.C.A. §§ 12-12-1601 et seq.;
o The 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 according to both the National and Arkansas background checks;
o The potential school volunteer’s name was not found on the Child Abuse Central Registry; and
o The Arkansas Educator Licensure System does not indicate the potential volunteer to:
*Have a currently suspended or revoked educator’s license;
*Be the recipient of a current Level 3 or Level 4 public notification of ethics violation.
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 surrounding 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 adopt a resolution by majority vote providing an exception to this policy's requirement for a time period not to exceed five (5) 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 (3) years.
The superintendent or a third-party vendor shall report to the state board the name of any person working as a registered volunteer in an athletic coaching capacity who:
1. Has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to or has been found guilty of any felony or misdemeanor listed in A.C.A. § 6-17-410(b);
2. Has been arrested or charged with any felony or misdemeanor listed in A.C.A. § 6-17-410(b);
3. Has intentionally compromised the validity or security of any student test or testing program administered or required by the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE);
4. Has knowingly submitted falsified information or failed to submit information requested or required by law to DESE, the State Board, or Arkansas Legislative Audit; or
5. Has a true report in the Child Maltreatment Central Registry.
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 who are mandated reporters will be made aware of their status as mandated reporters of child maltreatment and will receive training on the responsibilities of a mandated reporter.
Registered volunteers who will be working with students in an athletic coaching capacity or are in the process of obtaining a coaching certificate through the Arkansas Activities Association shall be informed that they are bound by the Code of Ethics for Arkansas Educators and shall receive training on the Code of Ethics.
A.C.A. §§ 6-17-301
A.C.A. § 6-17-410
A.C.A. § 6-17-411
A.C.A. § 6-17-428
A.C.A. § 6-18-110
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.
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Rules Governing Background Checks
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Rules Governing the Code of Ethics for Arkansas Educators
Date Adopted: August 26, 2015
Last Revised: May 2023