RALEIGH, N.C. — Wake County Schools
are keeping track of every school volunteer through a new online database.
Every volunteer must fill out an application with personal information. The more contact you have with students, the more information you will have to provide. Volunteers who spend time alone with students must also pass a criminal background check, and some parents do not seem to mind.
"Everybody that I know would be very comfortable giving over their personal information," parent Gaye Jones said.
"You want to know who's going to be there with your kids," parent and teacher Dominic Hardy said.
"I wouldn't want just anybody walking in, for sure," parent Penny Ferrell said.
It is an especially big job at Partnership Elementary School because every family is required to volunteer.
"This is going to be a massive undertaking. I think it's a great idea. We want to ensure our kids safe, and this is another step toward that," said Judy Andersen, principal at Partnership Elementary School.
It is a massive undertaking for the Wake school system as well. More than 4,000 potential volunteers have signed up in the last few weeks alone.
"We'll go a lot higher than that, I'm sure," volunteer coordinator Toni Cooper said.
Cooper said 45 to 50 applications have been rejected or require more research.
"You'll get a lot of information and then interpreting that information and making a judgment is very important," she said.
Volunteers can be rejected for violent crimes, a drug history, and sex crimes. Traffic arrests may also disqualify volunteers from particular jobs. The American Civil Liberties Union said it wants to see how the system is implemented before making a comment.
All of the information goes into a secure, internal computer system. The school system budgeted $22,000 to create the database.
Wake County Schools To Take Closer Look At Volunteers