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Do your kids' schools make it difficult to volunteer? - Page 3

post #41 of 64
I can't volunteer because I work full-time. But my dd's school makes it nigh-impossible for single, working parents to participate AT ALL in the school:

-charity fun run, the big yearly fundraiser, held at noon on weekday
-pre-semester schoolyard cleanup held 11-3 on a weekday
-first day of school parents' breakfast held at 9am (school starts at 8)
-parent-teacher conferences held weekday daytimes
-principal's monthly get-together with parents held weekday daytime
-curriculum night/open house held on a weekNIGHT, but adults-only and no babysitting provided (despite PTA meetings having babysitting and this being a K-8 school, = lots of babysitters). I brought my child last year and she was the ONLY child present.

I fought it for a while but now I've given up. If they don't want my family paticipation in school, then they don't need my assistance - or money; we're boycotting fundraising - either.
post #42 of 64
These requirements seem like complete overkill to me, but I too think the worst thing is to have such stringent requirements and to not streamline the process. Very few parents are going to be willing to drive all over town to get these things done just to volunteer. And them not accepting your teaching credentials that have a TB test and fingerprinting already? That's just silly.
post #43 of 64


They just want you to have a recent TB test and said to report it to the district.
They said they'd go into more detail on back to school night.
post #44 of 64
We just started back to school on Tuesday, so four days. Public elementary school in San Diego. My understanding is the state of California changed some "rules" (perhaps even the whole country and it is a law, I didn't pay that much attention). I vaguely recall the mention of "Megan's law", but I am not familiar with it.

Anyway, there are four different levels of volunteers and four different levels of "hoops" to accompany those levels. The strictest/most involved level is the one that puts a volunteer directly with children. The more removed your volunteering is from one-on-one with kids, the less paperwork/hoops in order to volunteer. However, I did catch that we have to repeat it every year regardless of which level.

In the past, we could go to our school district office and do it all at once, although TB testing requires a second visit. It is free. One could also go to your private doctor (at your expense) or to a local school with a nurse who is present two days a week (our school nurse is only there one day a week, so couldn't do the TB test properly; this option is also free).

I suspect the sheer information overload has led some districts/principals to ignore that there are legally four levels for volunteer checks and just do the strictest for everyone to make sure they comply. Thankfully, our principal and/or district is recognizing the differences. As far as what is actually required for each level, I confess I didn't pay close enough attention to spell that out. My DD is in third grade and teachers at her school don't really need help specifically in the classroom above Kindergarten. I volunteered in the past for all sorts of things, but have taken a step back this year anyway (before knowing about the new "rules"). I haven't decided how I am going to volunteer this year.
post #45 of 64
Welcome to the Bureaucracy. I must have filled out our name, address and emergency contact info ten times for EACH of my children--all because the school and district can't figure out how to share information efficiently. So much redundancy!
post #46 of 64
I think your school district added some requirements. When I volunteered at dd's school, and I'm in California too....my driver's license was photocopied and I was livescanned. A note from my doctor was faxed over saying I wasn't at risk for TB and that I declined the test on religous grounds. They don't require the TB test for students in our county though....so that's probably reginal depening on how much of a problem TB is in your community.
post #47 of 64
Our school makes it difficult in some regards, but they don't run background checks on casual volunteers. That would be the kiss of death as far as I'm concerned.

Quote:
Welcome to the Bureaucracy. I must have filled out our name, address and emergency contact info ten times for EACH of my children--all because the school and district can't figure out how to share information efficiently. So much redundancy!
Seriously. Does that make you as crazy as it does me? There must be 15 forms, all identical to the ones we had to fill in last year, all asking for the same info. We cannot just print off a list of the 5 contact names and staple it to the forms. Could we design a less efficient process?

And the few times they did have to contact me over the years, they've just asked my kids for my work phone number.
post #48 of 64
my school tries to divvy up event times (some midday, some eve), and no one likes the eve at all! they would rather take off work, actually. but then the dynamic changes and the school's way of things doesn't.
we aren't really given much chance to volunteer, but then they don't really need it either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seasons View Post
I can't volunteer because I work full-time. But my dd's school makes it nigh-impossible for single, working parents to participate AT ALL in the school:

-charity fun run, the big yearly fundraiser, held at noon on weekday
-pre-semester schoolyard cleanup held 11-3 on a weekday
-first day of school parents' breakfast held at 9am (school starts at 8)
-parent-teacher conferences held weekday daytimes
-principal's monthly get-together with parents held weekday daytime
-curriculum night/open house held on a weekNIGHT, but adults-only and no babysitting provided (despite PTA meetings having babysitting and this being a K-8 school, = lots of babysitters). I brought my child last year and she was the ONLY child present.

I fought it for a while but now I've given up. If they don't want my family paticipation in school, then they don't need my assistance - or money; we're boycotting fundraising - either.
post #49 of 64
At my daughter's public school, parents have to fill out an information form and give a copy of a Driver's license or state ID. The only time they require fingerprints are if people want to volunteer who aren't parents of children in the school, or those parents who want to go on the 4th grade overnight camping trip.
post #50 of 64
well I live in CA like the OP and last yr at 3 schools ( DS was enrolled at 2 chools before we decided to HS and another preschool for DS#2) if I wanted to volunteer at the school (direct access even if it wasnt necessarily in a classroom, lunch monitor,office,assemblies) I need to have a TB test,background check and photo on file. I am a CA licensed daycare provider all of the above I already possess but I would still need to do them again. For 1 school (public) I footed the background check fee (roughly $80) plus the TB test (my insurance doesent cover it unless it is medically necessary or due to exposure risk (volunteering at my child school dosent count, I could lie but Im too honest so about another $45 at the health dept (not free due to having health insurance and not on "assistance") At 1 school it was made known (via brightly colored flier) that younger siblings are not allowed at ANY time/function. Well the majority of parents that could make the volunteer hrs/functions/assemblies are SAHP and most had a younger sibling. That letter was followed up with a notice to parents that some activities were no longer planned due to lack of particpation by volunteers: I understand their stance in terms of making schools a safe environment but also at the same time they need to understand that some parents simply can not afford or are able to volunteer due to the restrictions (whether financial or other siblings) Its a no win situation for both.
post #51 of 64
Wow, that's a lot! We're in a California public school and we don't have to do all of that. We just arrange with the teacher when we want to come in. Then, on the day we are volunteering we check in at the office for a visitor pass.
post #52 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
Our school makes it difficult in some regards, but they don't run background checks on casual volunteers. That would be the kiss of death as far as I'm concerned.



Seriously. Does that make you as crazy as it does me? There must be 15 forms, all identical to the ones we had to fill in last year, all asking for the same info. We cannot just print off a list of the 5 contact names and staple it to the forms. Could we design a less efficient process?

And the few times they did have to contact me over the years, they've just asked my kids for my work phone number.
We've had a breakthrough with this this year! They sent home ONE form for each of my kids, and I only had to write on it IF anything had changed, new phone numbers etc.

It was so awesome. I just signed the bottoms and it was done. Nice and easy.
post #53 of 64
Our SD requires the background check run by the state police and if you want to be a field trip driver for kids other/in addition to your own you must keep a current insurance card copy on file.

I guess I don't understand what is the big deal about wanting a background check on everyone that comes to volunteer at school, casual or not. Making it difficult is another issue. Our SD has a packet of forms that you fill out and it's the office staff that has the headache of running them through our state's state police system.

Maybe my viewpoint is just warped because at certain times in my life pre-kids I worked with many parents who raped and/or abused their children, but I prefer that everyone volunteering have at least a basic background check done. It is free to the schools in our state, as well as for non-profit groups.

Both churches I have belonged to in my state also required the state patrol background check before one was cleared to volunteer in the nursery or teach sunday school (though you could always sit in with your child at any time, you just couldn't be responsible for the class without a check and two checked people were required to be present at all times). If you want to be a girl scout leader not only do you have to have the state patrol check, but you must also have a *credit check* believe it or not, and I have heard that the boy scouts require something similar.

It's just becoming standard across the board.

And again, I do think that perhaps I am unfairly biased perhaps but I really don't think I would be comfortable with a school that didn't do background checking on volunteers at all.

Though I think not even bothering to make things streamlined for the parents is stupid on the part of the school.
post #54 of 64
My oldest dd goes to a Montessori charter school and so far this year I have had to:

1. Get fingerprinted (live scan) at the Sheriff's Dept.
2. Get a tb test (luckily a nurse visit with my doc's office is $0!)
3. Give them copies of my car insurance and driver's license (to drive on field trips)
4. Get a copy of my DMV driving record (to drive on field trips)

I believe the live scan is good for the duration that I am a parent in this school.

ETA: I agree with the pp and this doesn't bother me at all. I feel more comfortable with the above being done and didn't find it to be anything to complain about.
post #55 of 64
What in the world is a live scan? ??
post #56 of 64
At ds's school (public school in a largish city) they require all volunteers to fill out and "pass" their forms. Basically it's name, addy, ssn, phone number. They do a background check and if you clear it, you can volunteer. But younger children are not allowed on field trips or anything like that if you're volunteering.

Oh- and they make it easy to do because this is available online so you can fill out and submit the info anytime, day or night
post #57 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by fairymom View Post
and its been my experience that parents that want to help are not the ones to worry about- obivisiously they know how important children are and being involved is. the parents you don't want around your children don't want to want to be around your children or theirs for that matter! and don't volunteer anyways!
there was a scandal around here recently where a convicted sex offender was allowed to be a volunteer Santa for the county elementary school Holiday party.

I personally think that it is very important that volunteers go through a background check. when I volunteered at a pre-school in college, I didn't have to, but the teachers weren't allowed to leave me alone with children--which limited my usefulness as a volunteer (i.e. I couldn't walk an injured child to the office from the playground, I couldn't escort a child to the bathroom). Once I became a sub--and was background checked--it made me a much more useful volunteer.
post #58 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by freestyler View Post
What in the world is a live scan? ??
Digital (inkless) fingerprinting.
post #59 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
If you are a regular volunteer you do have to go through those things at my dd's school, but if you just volunteer once in a while you don't.
That's how it was at my oldest child's old PS when he was in school in 1st grade (minus the TB and fingerprint though). I can understand something like that being in place for parents who are there alone with a student and there is no teacher or other staff around.

If I planned to volunteer to the extent of doing one-on-one with students, watching children in the classroom when the teacher wasn't in there or doing anything closely related to asst. teaching or tutoring a student in the cafeteria outside of their class, then I had to have the background check and go through a mandatory 2 hour class in the media center at the first of the school year. I understood that. I didn't do it that year because all I did was help in class a couple hours per week while the teacher was there and during class parties.
post #60 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by chel View Post
dd's school relies heavily on parent volunteers. No requirements at all!

We can also bring home baked goods, too. So overall, very relaxed.
Ditto that here, although when my oldest first started school 7 years ago, one of his classmates father's was on the Megan's Law database, and he was allowed to help in his child's classroom. We didn't find out until after the fact, and it really made me uncomfortable because he was often in the classroom with a camera.
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