Bensalem Township School District recognizes that volunteers make valuable contributions in our schools. The Board encourages the use of volunteers, subject to the guidelines set forth in School Board Policy #916. This policy requires background checks to be completed for specific levels of volunteerism and is intended to strengthen the safeguards we have in place for anyone whose service puts them in contact with our students. It is essential that we create and maintain the safest possible environment for our students, and this policy is part of that assurance and in full compliance with laws and guidelines mandated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The policy applies to parents, guardians, and all other members of the community who volunteer in our schools or serve as chaperones, and requires a Pennsylvania State Police Criminal History Report (Act 34) and Child Abuse Clearance Statement (Act 151) background checks. Additionally, all volunteers must sign a Volunteer Disclosure Statement.Please note: ***If you have been a resident of Pennsylvania for less than 10 years, you will need to have the FBI fingerprint criminal record check: https://www.pa.cogentid.com/index_pdeNew.htmClarifications to the state’s new law regarding background clearances for volunteers who have direct and routine contact with children are now law. House Bill 1276 was signed into law in early July 2015, bringing more clarity to Act 153 of 2014, which requires additional and periodic background checks for both employees and volunteers who are directly involved with children.
Under the new law, volunteers must obtain the clearances if they have direct volunteer contact, meaning that they have care, supervision, guidance or control and routine interaction with children. Also, all volunteers subject to the background check clearances will be required to re-certify all of those clearances every five years, instead of every three years.
The measure also makes a number of clarifications with respect to the cost, portability and re-certification of the two main clearances – the Department of Human Services child abuse clearance and the State Police criminal background check.**Effective on July 25, 2015 the fees for the Criminal History Record (Act 34) and Child Abuse (Act 151) are waived for volunteers.**Once you receive your clearances, please take them to the office in the school where you will be volunteering.More information about Act 153 of 2014 and the other new laws resulting from the child protection package are available at KeepKidsSafe.pa.gov.