The District strongly supports the involvement of parent/guardian and community volunteers. State law now requires that any volunteer who has direct contact with students to have the necessary clearances on file with the District.
Below is a list of frequently asked questions about this process.
Do ALL volunteers have to have clearances?
As of July 1, 2015, almost ALL volunteers are now required to have background clearances. The new state law requires that the following volunteers need clearances:
Unless a Principal can categorize your activity as that of a visitor, you will need to have clearances to volunteer with our students.
- Volunteers who are responsible for the welfare of the child, i.e., acting in lieu of or on behalf of a parent.
- Volunteers who have direct contact with a child, i.e., providing care, supervision, guidance or control of a child (using the common meaning of those terms, with child safety serving as the paramount consideration).
- Volunteers who have routine interaction with children (volunteers who have regular, ongoing contact that is integral to their volunteer responsibilities).
Why does the Deer Lakes School District require volunteers to get clearances?
The District has a duty to protect its students. These policies must be followed in accordance with state law.
I have already received my clearances through the Parks and Rec Department. Will that work for the District?
Unfortunately, the clearances outlined in the policy are different from those completed through the local municipalities and do not apply. In addition, please note that if you have already obtained the Child Abuse, Criminal History and FBI Criminal clearance as outlined, they must be less than one year old from the date you submit them.
What clearances are required?
Three different clearances are required – (1) PA State Criminal Record Check, (2) PA Child Abuse History Clearance and (3) Federal Criminal History Record Check (“fingerprint”).
The new state law permits the District to waive a volunteer’s need to obtain the Federal Criminal History Record Check (FBI Fingerprint) if requirements are met. Click here to learn more.
Why are 3 different clearances required?
Each clearance request searches a unique database of records. The PA clearances for child abuse and criminal records are held in 2 different state databases, while the Federal clearance checks criminal history through a national database.
How long will it take me to get my clearances once requested?
You can usually obtain all three clearances within two weeks after you have submitted everything necessary. As the new law comes into effect, we do anticipate longer waiting periods as paperwork is processed.
What should I do once I get my clearances?Only after you get all of the clearances back, take the originals to the Central Administration Building (building behind the Middle School) during normal office hours. Administrative Staff will review your clearances and will make a copy to keep for our files. The originals will be returned to you. Thereafter, your name will be added to a central database of volunteers who have submitted clearances. Please note that you should have four papers with your - PA Child Abuse, PA Criminal Record Check, FBI Fingerprints or the signed waiver, and the signed Acknowledgement of Volunteer Obligations.
What if I have older clearances that I got for volunteering with other organizations?
The District will accept the clearances provided they are not more than three years old from the date of submission. The clearances will expire when the oldest of the submitted clearances is more than 3 years old.
How often will I have to update my clearances?
Every 3 years from the date you submit them to the District.
What if I am not truthful about disclosing prior arrests or notifying the District of a subsequent arrest?
The statute makes the failure to disclose information a misdemeanor of the third degree.
What kind of offenses would preclude someone from being permitted to have unsupervised, direct student contact during his/her volunteer activity?
These offenses are listed in Section 111 of the School Code and include: criminal homicide, aggravated assault, stalking, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure, rape, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, institutional sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, indecent exposure, sexual intercourse with animal, incest, concealing death of child, endangering welfare of children, dealing in infant children, prostitution, obscene and other sexual materials and performances, corruption of minors, sexual abuse of children, unlawful contact with minor, solicitation of minors to traffic drugs. sexual exploitation of children and certain drug crimes.
How will I be able to remember when my clearances expire?
The District will maintain a list of volunteers who have submitted clearances, the submission date and the expiration date.
How much do the clearances cost and can I be reimbursed?
At this time, the total cost to get all 3 clearances is $48.75 (the 2 state clearances cost $10 each and the federal clearance costs $28.75). Unfortunately, the District is unable to reimburse you for the cost of obtaining the clearances. However, if paying for the clearances would be a financial hardship for you, please call your building principal. All calls will be kept confidential.
Do I have to get a TB test to volunteer at school?
Not usually. The only volunteers who have to get TB tests are those volunteers that had to be approved by the school board prior to starting their volunteer service. Usually these types of volunteers are volunteer coaches.
Are the clearance procedures all one step procedures?
No. The state clearance procedures are only one step. The Federal (“FBI”) Clearance procedure is a 2 step process. You will first have to register online for an ID. You will then take that ID to an approved fingerprinting location to finish the process.
Where do I have to get fingerprinted?
Approved locations can be found at HERE. Note that if you are going to the Mailboxes Plus and More location in Washington, PA, it is located in the back of the building next to the train tracks. The store is not visible from the street.
Do the fingerprinting services use ink to take prints?
No. They will take your prints electronically, on a glass screen.
How long does the fingerprinting process usually take?
Usually 15 minutes, depending on the relative length of the line.