Franklin Regional considers clearances requirement for board members
Franklin Regional School Board members who plan to spend time in district schools soon could be required to obtain background checks.
On Monday, officials reviewed a proposal to require school board members to obtain a state child-abuse clearance and criminal-history checks from the state police and the FBI if they want to enter schools unsupervised.
“Without volunteers, we wouldn't be nearly the organization we are or the organization we hope to be,” Superintendent Jamie Piraino said. “The one big loophole is the people who are coming in, into our schools, into our offices, into our classrooms, being around kids; our biggest group of volunteers are our board members, who develop community partnerships.”
In June 2012, the school board voted to require parent and community volunteers obtain criminal-history checks through state police and child-abuse clearances. Also, volunteers who are likely to have unsupervised contact with a student are required to obtain the FBI background check.
“It serves as a good example to the community in terms of those clearances,” Piraino said.
The ability of a board member with a criminal record to go into schools unsupervised would be restricted, Piraino said. But that wouldn't stop someone from serving on the board, Solicitor Lynne Finnerty said.
“There are other laws that govern that,” Finnerty said. “State law can not be trumped by your policy.”
In Pennsylvania, school board members are not required to obtain any security clearances to serve, according to the Pennsylvania School Boards Association. Individual districts, however, can require the clearances or background checks for board members who visit district classrooms.
Board member Dennis Pavlik suggested that the district absorb the cost for checks for all volunteers. That would be a burdensome cost to the district, board President Herb Yingling said. The district has a “large number” of volunteers, Yingling said. It costs $58 for a person to obtain all three clearances.
The board is slated vote on a first approval to the proposal later this month. If approved, the changes would be enacted as early as October, just weeks before the November election. Four school board seats are contested in that race.
Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Franklin Regional reaches deal with school maintenance staff
- Volunteers spruce up Murrysville’s McGinnis Nature Reserve
- Franklin Regional science students experience ‘Stock Market Game’
- Franklin Regional to get $335K for ads at facilities
- Murrysville bridges to be fixed as part of public-private venture
- Despite drought watch, Westmoreland reservoir water level high
- Murrysville Marcellus Shale Task Force report available