Background Checks are the New Protocol for Many Wilton School Volunteers–Including Parents
Wilton Public Schools will be instituting new safety measures beginning with the current 2018-19 academic year. In a letter home to parents of children enrolled in Wilton schools, Maria Coleman, the director of human resources and general administration, wrote that some volunteers who work with students will be required to undergo a background check as part of an effort to “expand and improve upon our standard screening protocols for all visitors to our buildings.”
Personal information that volunteers will need to submit include birthdate and social security number, and the security check will include data gathering from court and criminal records and sex offender registry lists.
School officials are classifying volunteers into two groups, based on whether or not they spend time with students while in the presence of Wilton Public Schools staff. Starting this month, all adult volunteers who work independently with students while not in the presence of Wilton Public Schools staff will be required to undergo the background security check.
The volunteers included in the group that will require screening include adults who:
- assist in the classroom, library learning commons, cafeteria, or any other location in school buildings where other Wilton Public Schools staff members are NOT present at any point during the volunteer’s visit
- accompany students on a field trip during or outside of the school day
- accompany students on an overnight field trip
- serve as student interns
Volunteers will not be required to submit to a background check if they help in any school location where school staff members are present or who attend a school function when school staff members are present.
Security checks will be conducted through the Wilton Public School website. On the website’s Human Resources page there is link to the “Secure Volunteer portal” of the Background Investigation Bureau. Coleman’s letter says that the screening is confidential and can be completed after the volunteer submits a consent to the background check. The check includes searches of county court databases, criminal record databases, security watch lists, and sex offender registries covering all 50 states.
In addition, the Background Investigation Bureau includes a disclosure that the “background check requires your submission of personal information, including but not limited to: legal name, address, date of birth, social security number and driver’s license number.” To learn more about the security of your personal information, please read our Privacy Statement and Data Security Statement. For additional questions, please visit the FAQ section.”
A statement on the website reads:
“Wilton Public Schools – Volunteers (“the Organization”) may obtain information about you from a consumer reporting agency for consideration of the opportunity to serve as a volunteer with the Organization. Thus, you may be the subject of a “consumer report” which may include information about your character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and/or mode of living. These reports may contain information regarding your criminal history, motor vehicle records (“driving records”), or other background checks. Please be advised that the nature and scope of the most common form of consumer report obtained with regard to applicants for volunteering is a criminal record report conducted by Background Investigation Bureau, LLC, (“BIB”), 9710 Northcross Center Court, Huntersville, NC 28078, 877.439.3900.”
According to Coleman’s letter, the approval process “typically takes two business days,” and that volunteers should plan to be screened “several weeks in advance of [a] scheduled volunteer commitment.”
There is no charge for volunteers to submit a background check. Volunteers will need to complete a background check annually.
Once a background check is complete and a volunteer has been approved, he or she will receive a Secure Volunteer hologram badge by mail within two weeks. Volunteers will be required to wear these badges anytime they volunteer in the school or at a school-sponsored event. In addition, names of approved volunteers will be added to a list at each specific school the volunteer has selected.
Volunteers who do not sign up to work with students while not in the presence of Wilton Schools staff will not be required to complete any additional screenings beyond the standard driver’s license screening required for every visitor at the main entrance of each school.