School Volunteer Fingerprinting - Why its a good idea.

When districts review school safety measures and Board Policies with legal counsel they do so with a desire to protect students. With the prevalence of crimes against children in society, districts who don’t require California Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal background checks of potential school volunteers who may be in contact with students outside the direct supervision of teachers or site administrators are opening up those districts to possible liability.

We recommend that all school districts have a strict policy in place requiring fingerprinting even if there is full time supervision and are in contact with children. Below are some examples for when mandatory fingerprinting should be required.

  • Coaching or assisting with special events, including dances, sports competitions, drama and musical productions

  • Driving and/or chaperoning field trips, including after-school sports.

  • Any volunteer assignment involving contact with students at school or on field trips where there is a possibility a volunteer could be outside the presence of a certificated staff member (teacher or administrator) even briefly

The above is not the complete list but you get the idea.

The most common question we get is who pays for fingerprinting?

The average cost for fingerprint processing is $55 for one volunteer, or approximately $11,000 for a school that has 200 volunteers. (If the districts require FBI processing it will be more) As you know districts do not have adequate funding resources to pay this large sum. In many cases the schools ask each volunteer to cover the cost or hold fundraising events through PTA or other school organizations.

Now here is the good news. Once the volunteer is fingerprinted, they only need to complete this process once for the school district.

If you’d like more information about school district fingerprinting programs please contact us