The Smithfield School Committee recognizes the valuable and important contribution made to the school district through the volunteer assistance of parents, college students, senior citizens, elected officials, business representatives and other community members. As such, it fully supports all district initiatives aimed at recruiting and utilizing volunteers to enhance district and school activities and programs, enrich the instructional program, assist teachers, and connect the student body with the community.
The purpose of this policy is to set forth the guidelines when recruiting volunteers at the school and district level. While volunteerism is encouraged by the School District, it is a privilege extended to adults under certain terms and conditions.
The Superintendent shall ensure that processes and procedures are developed and appropriate staff is designated to support the implementation of and adherence to this policy. Principals are authorized to solicit volunteers to work in their schools, in accordance with district policy and procedures.
DEFINITIONS OF VOLUNTEERS
A volunteer is any adult non-compensated person who wishes to donate his/her time within a school building, at a school-sponsored event, or where children are present. This shall include any individuals who may be compensated privately and are participating in an after-school program or after school related activity or function.
To be eligible as a volunteer, an individual must first complete an Information and Disclosure Statement, as amended by the District from time to time. The volunteer must update information provided on the Disclosure Statement from time to time as requested by the School District.
Volunteers must be a minimum of 18 years of age.
Volunteers are assigned by the Principal. Volunteers are not guaranteed placement in a specific classroom, nor for a particular activity.
CONFIDENTIALITY AND COMPLIANCE WITH DISTRICT RULES, REGULATIONS AND PROTOCOLS
Volunteers shall adhere to rules and District protocol for confidentiality as well as all other rules, regulations and protocols observed by the District. Volunteers shall not discuss or reveal any student/school related confidential issue or information with any third party except with permission of the Principal or teacher of record. Volunteers shall not have access nor shall they attempt to gain, nor be given access to confidential information.
Prior to being eligible to serve as a volunteer, the individual shall complete an orientation provided by the site Principal and demonstrate an understanding and agreement to comply with such rules, regulations and protocols to the Principal’s satisfaction.
CRITERIA TO SERVE AS A VOLUNTEER
1. DISQUALIFYING INFORMATION AND BACKGROUND CHECKS
All volunteers shall have a background check, in accordance with applicable State law, to become eligible for consideration to contribute as a volunteer for the School District. If the background check reveals any disqualifying information, as defined by state law, the school department will make a judgment regarding the qualifications and fitness of said person to volunteer for the school department based on such information and the criteria stated below. In such circumstances, the Superintendent or his/her designee shall meet with that person and explain that he/she will not be able to participate due to the information contained in the report(s). The cost of the background check is the responsibility of the applicant.
2. ADDITIONAL CRITERIA
The District shall develop specific and fair criteria to be applied when determining the eligibility and deployment of volunteers. Such criteria shall include:
· The number of available volunteers.
· The needs of the District and a particular school site.
· A volunteer’s willingness to cooperate with school officials and to receive and carry out direction of school officials.
· The District’s past experience with a volunteer.
· A volunteer’s ability and capacity, in the District’s reasonable judgment, to assist and insure a safe learning environment for students and staff.
· A volunteer’s demonstrated capacity to comply with District privacy and confidentiality requirements.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Volunteers should not be with a student/s unless in the presence of a classroom teacher, administrator, or appropriate school personnel. A volunteer shall not be in a one-on-one situation with a child, during or outside of a school day.
Volunteers must provide identification and sign in/out at the school’s main office. Volunteers shall wear the “Visitors” badge or other means of identification, as required by school policy, or as directed by the Principal.
Volunteers shall follow and comply with all directions from the Principal, teachers or other appropriate school personnel.
This Policy shall not apply to parents observing classrooms, guest speakers, performers, student mentors who are enrolled in the School District, newspaper reporters, vendors for school related items such as rings, yearbooks, delivery vendors, and alike, provided they are accompanied by the Superintendent or school personnel.
Any volunteer desiring to appeal a decision of disqualification shall first appeal to the Superintendent of Schools and thereafter to the School Committee. Such appeal to the School Committee shall be by a letter to the Chairperson of the School Committee, received by the central administrative offices, within ten days of the Superintendent’s decision, requesting a hearing before the School Committee. Any decision of the School Committee may be further appealed to the R.I. Department of Education.
VOLUNTEER LIABILITY AND INDEMNIFICATION
A volunteer shall at all times indemnify and hold harmless the School District and its officer, agents and employees from any and all claims, damages and expenses arising out of injuries to persons or damage to property which resulted from any omissions or negligent acts of the volunteer. Upon request, the volunteer shall execute a District indemnification form.
The School District shall maintain an accurate file of signed Volunteer Disclosure Statements, criminal background checks and such other information as required by Policy, law, rule or regulation.
STATEMENT OF NONDISCRIMINATION
The School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, color, disability or veteran status.
 As of the date of this policy, R.I. Gen Laws §§13-17-37; 11-37-8.1 and 11-37-8.3 provide that the following is considered disqualifying information:
§ 23-17-37. Disqualifying information is information produced by a criminal records review pertaining to conviction, for the following crimes will result in a letter to the employee and employer disqualifying the applicant from employment: murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, first degree sexual assault, second degree sexual assault, third degree sexual assault, assault on persons sixty (60) years of age or older, assault with intent to commit specified felonies (murder, robbery, rape, burglary, or the abominable and detestable crime against nature) felony assault, patient abuse, neglect or mistreatment of patients, burglary, first degree arson, robbery, felony drug offenses, larceny, or felony banking law violations. The term "conviction" means, in addition to judgments of conviction entered by a court subsequent to a finding of guilty or a plea of guilty, those instances where the defendant has entered a plea of nolo contendere and has received a sentence of probation and those instances where a defendant has entered into a deferred sentence agreement with the attorney general.
§ 11-37-8.1. First degree child molestation sexual assault
A person is guilty of first degree child molestation sexual assault if he or she engages in sexual penetration with a person fourteen (14) years of age or under.
§ 11-37-8.3. Second degree child molestation sexual assault
A person is guilty of a second degree child molestation sexual assault if he or she engages in sexual contact with another person fourteen (14) years of age or under.