“School days, school days, good old Golden Rule days”
Remember that ditty from years past? Perhaps you’re not of a “certain age” to recall it; as a kid I think my buddies and I amended the wording a bit to reflect our personal opinions about the end of summer vacation and a return to the hallowed halls.
Nowadays, school means new wardrobes for kids who have stretched their shoes over the summer, mind-boggling class registration lines for bewildered parents and scheduling rides to athletic practices and music lessons that are sure to make local Uber drivers rich beyond their wildest dreams.
The return to school also signals a darker side. Abusers and sexual predators see this time of year as a ripe time for attempting to interact with our kids through volunteer and coaching activities. Fall is the time to leverage every resource to keep children safe from monsters, both imagined and real.
Below are six ways to keep schools safe when recruiting volunteers, staff and parents to help once the bell rings in the new school year:
- Go beyond the standard fingerprint criminal check. Seek out a reputable background screening firm that will check the national sex offender registry, employment history, address and alias names and educational history verification.
- Make sure your background searches are customized to fit your needs. Is your screening firm checking present and previous counties of residence for criminal activities? They should be.
- Provide training for staff, volunteers and students. Being able to recognize the signs of abuse (not just physical, but mental and sexual) is the first step in keeping kids safe.
- Run a background check on everyone. Schools who adhere to a high standard apply this rule for everyone, each year. This goes for your most seasoned employee and volunteer, to the new teacher or classroom assistant. No exceptions.
- Establish and communicate a clear process regarding issues of staff misconduct. Take all allegations seriously.
- Institute policy that requires school employees to report any arrests to the school district and employer within 24 hours of arrest.
Which schools or educational institutions should apply these six steps? Any organization that wants to maintain a stellar reputation in their community. Any organization that wants to engender good faith and the trust of parents and guardians. Any organization that sees our children as America’s most precious resource.
For more information on background screening through SecureSearch™, visit www.securesearchpro.com.
This guest blog was written by Mike Faber, Vice President of Business Development and Operations of SecureSearch. Mike is a published author of books on leadership and sales, an executive coach and speaker. His background includes sales and management roles in financial services, healthcare, and broadcasting. Mike lives in Parker, Colorado with his wife Terry and two teenage boys, Nick and Chris.