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North Allegheny background check policy for volunteers put on hold

| Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, 11:59 a.m.

The North Allegheny School Board will seek more feedback from residents before deciding whether to require background checks for volunteers in district schools.

Board President Christopher Jacobs said at a meeting Aug. 27 that the board would not at this time adopt a rule that would require volunteers to undergo background checks through a third party.

He said district officials will reach out to parents and community groups over the next several weeks.

“We encourage community members to continue to provide their perspectives and suggestions with respect to this important issue,” Jacobs said.

At the Aug. 20 meeting where the policy was proposed, several parents said they thought it would deter parents from volunteering.

“It's impossible to tell how it will impact the number of able and willing volunteers,” said Allyson Minton, of McCandless, a parent volunteer at McKnight Elementary. “It feels like a big gamble to me.”

She said strong consideration should be given to exempting volunteers who are in the schools only once or twice a year in an assistive capacity and that there are many last-minute volunteer switches at elementary schools.

North Allegheny enrolls about 8,200 students at its 12 schools that draw from Bradford Woods, Franklin Park, McCandless and Marshall.

Play equipment

Bradford Woods Elementary School will receive two new pieces of playground equipment from the Parent-Faculty Association of Bradford Woods.

The equipment will be a rock-climbing wall and a Spinami upright spinning wheel.

The equipment, valued at about $9,800, will be installed this year.

“The board certainly appreciates that generous donation,” board member Thomas Schwartzmier said.

Kelsey Shea is a staff writer at Trib Total Media. Reach her at kshea@tribweb.com or at 724-772-6353.

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