Do you think all school volunteers need a police check?

by Lara on November 29, 2011

There is a campaign/petition to make police checks for school volunteers in Ottawa-area schools mandatory.  I haven’t signed it.

I’m not an expert and this is only my opinion, but I’m going to tell you what my thought process was on all of this.

1) I assume people are lazy, probably because I am. When I’m talking about social media I have a measure I often suggest people use when they try to ask for engagement “would YOU answer the question”.

I would not bother to get a police check done, YEARLY, on the off chance that I may be needed or may have time to go in and volunteer. THEREFORE, if a note came home that said “we need 2 more parent volunteers for the field trip on Friday or we’re going to have to cancel” then I’m out of the running.

In that scenario, I probably would have said “sure, I’m free Friday, I’ll be there”. With their current policies I’m not eligible.

Could I add “get a police check in case you ever feel like volunteering this year” to my to do list? Yes, but I can almost guarantee it won’t make it to the top of the “get it done” list.

(the above can replace the word lazy for busy)

2) This does not mean I don’t care about my kids

Maybe I’m just too trustworthy, or maybe I think the chances of a police record screening out the bad guys who would be volunteering at my school is a bit unlikely.

Maybe I’m just living on the edge to think it would be ok to have parents and grandparents volunteer with my kids without a police check.

3) I have no issues with the police check policy as long as people understand there will be less volunteers

This is really just a continuation of 1 – because I assume people are lazy, I feel people will not bother.

If there is a need for volunteers, this policy could shoot the schools in the foot, so to speak.

4) Where does it end?

Maybe I’m missing something – have there been all kinds of cases of volunteers up to no good? I’m not saying we need to have something bad happen to put in safety measures, but most of the time volunteers are with teachers (who I totally think should have police checks) or big groups of kids, or other volunteers.

Should I be having parents of my kids’ friends show me a police check for them to go over for a playdate? Should I be providing a copy of mine at the door when other kids come over?

I am not really against all of this, as it may seem that I am.  If you created a system that was really easy for people – send home a form, ask all parents to full it out and return to the school, the school has police checks performed and confirms with parents when done, then maybe I wouldn’t see it as such a barrier to getting the help in schools I know they could use.

No matter what you think, I’d love to hear your opinions on the matter (but please respect that not everyone has the same opinion and that’s ok)!


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