Perhaps taking a cue from Oakland, Albany public schools are considering more comprehensive screening – including tuberculosis tests, fingerprinting, and background checks – of its volunteers, according to an AP story published in the Chronicle. The policy, which is still be worked on, came about in light of two incidences: one, in which a volunteer track coach apparently become too close to a team member and her family, and was subsequently barred; another involved a wrestling coach volunteer who was accused and arrested of having sex with boys.
Such background checks, though seemingly well-intentioned, came under fire by Oakland school parents last fall after OUSD officials ramped up their measures to fingerprint their volunteers. Parents complained that the $75 annual cost detracted would-be helpers, and it appeared the policy was not uniformly enforced, nor were volunteers accurately kept track of. What types of offenses would be deemed inappropriate for volunteerism also weren’t revealed.