The Cranston School Committee will be considering a new policy to mandate background checks for all Cranston school volunteers, the result of a subcommittee which has been meeting since September of 2008. The policy will be voted on at two consecutive School Committee meetings. Recently I emailed school committee member Andrea Iannazzi with some questions about the pending policy.
Kiersten Marek: How will this be implemented?
Andrea Iannazzi: The policy is available at www.cpsed.net. Policies take two consecutive votes (without amendments) to pass the School Committee. This policy will be enacted 30 days after passage (to allow for time for background checks).
Kiersten Marek: Will current volunteers all need to go through the screening?
Andrea Iannazzi: Yes, all volunteers will need to go through the screening.
Kiersten Marek: Will they not be allowed to continue if they do not get screened?
Andrea Iannazzi: Yes, the policy mandates background checks for volunteers.
Kiersten Marek: How long will they be given to get the screen?
However long they’d like. There is a thirty day period until the policy is enacted. However, no one will be allowed to volunteer until they have
submitted a background check.
We have tried to make it as user friendly as possible. The application is part of the policy. A prospective volunteer can fill out the application and hand everything in to Human Resources at Briggs. Cranston Public Schools will take care of the rest (getting the check, forwarding results, etc.).
Kiersten Marek: Will fingerprinting be required? Will the background check need to be repeated periodically?
Andrea Iannazzi: Fingerprinting is only required for those who have not lived in RI for at least a year.
Volunteers would only need to get a background check once.
Kiersten Marek: Who will the funds be given to for administering the background checks?
Andrea Iannazzi: We have set aside $2500 in “Safe Schools” funding. CPS will pay the
Attorney General’s Office for those needing assistance (until the $2500 is spent).
Kiersten Marek: What criminal charges will make a person ineligible to volunteer in the schools (obviously any sexual offender status, but are there other charges that will be included?)
Andrea Iannazzi: This is determined by State law and includes child molestation, sexual assault, murder, manslaughter, robbery, arson, felony drug charges, etc. See RIGL § 23-17-37,§§ 11-37-8.1 and 11-37-8.3.
Kiersten Marek: What about parents who volunteer in the schools through their PTO? Will they also need to have a BCI on file?
Andrea Iannazzi: Yes, everyone must submit a BCI check. The only exceptions are listed in the policy… “This Policy may not apply to parents observing classrooms, guest speakers, performers, student mentors who are enrolled in Cranston Public Schools, truancy court personnel, newspaper reporters, vendors for school related
items such as rings, yearbooks, delivery vendors, and alike, provided they are accompanied by the Superintendent or school personnel.”
This policy is the result of a SubCommittee that I chaired. The Committee consisted of Jane Wall (Parent, Woodridge), Pam Schiff (Parent- Park View), Peter Nero (Assistant Superintendent), Dr. Laura Albanese (Principal- Stone Hill), David Alba (Principal- Glen Hills), Donna Tocco Greenaway (School Committee- later replaced by Frank Lombardi), and myself. We began meeting in September of 2008.
Kiersten Marek: Thanks, Andrea. This policy will be discussed at tonight’s school committee meeting, taking place at 7 pm.