The General Assembly amended the law that required people seeking employment in public schools to undergo a criminal background check. The law now requires volunteers (and mentors) to get the same background check. That law requires volunteers to apply for a national and state criminal records check and to be fingerprinted. They can apply at the attorney general’s office, the state police or the local police department where they live. It is my understanding that the cost is $35. The law states that the applicant is responsible for the cost. We are in the process of changing our Volunteer Policy to reflect the change in the law, but this procedure for volunteers should go into effect immediately.
While many parents may say, I am only volunteering in a classroom and there is no chance of being singled out with one child - this is untrue. There are many situations such as Field Trips, Enrichment programs, Field Day etc.
I see the schools as providing basic rights to all children to feel safe and this is a protection I have wanted since they dreamt up the $5 State Check (meaningless). It's unfortunate because we will loose a lot of generous parents to having the ability to afford this, but the reality is it is not just a classroom experience when volunteering. There is plenty of this in the news and RI is just trying to not be one of these.