More school volunteers may need fingerprints

More of School District 51’s 2,000-plus volunteers may be subject to fingerprinting next year if a district policy change is approved by the school board.

Under current policy, only volunteers working one-on-one with students, such as coaches, drivers and tutors, have to submit fingerprints to the district. District 51 spokesman Jeff Kirtland, who also oversees volunteer coordination in the district, said he’s not sure how many volunteers would have to be fingerprinted if the policy were changed, but he said he doubted it would affect all volunteers.

It costs $5 to be fingerprinted at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department. Kirtland said he’s not yet sure who would pay for the fingerprinting.

Volunteers with the 500 Plan, rolled out last fall to match local students with reading tutors, were fingerprinted. Those volunteers had their fingerprinting and $40 background checks paid for by sponsors or other donors. All district volunteers go through background checks.

The success of the 500 Plan led the district to consider fingerprinting more volunteers and examine how a revised policy may help improve school safety, Kirtland said. Legal personnel are checking to make sure the policy fully complies with state law.

“We’re trying to do the right thing to ensure the safety of kids,” he said.

A group of central administration employees working on the policy could present a first draft to the school board as early as May and have it adopted as early as June, Kirtland said.


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