Beaufort County schools to start new volunteer screening - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Beaufort County schools to start new volunteer screening

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BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) -

Beginning next school year, the Beaufort County School District will start using new procedures to screen people wanting to volunteer with the district. 

This comes after the district discovered  last school year that several volunteers with criminal records were hired. 

"Our goal is to create a learning environment that's safe for our students," said Superintendent Jeffrey Moss. "We value our volunteers and want to make sure they are the right fit for our schools."

The district says it will cost about $40,000 to use this new system and all volunteers, even those who won't be working with students, must be screened before being approved. 

"What we found is that the system we were using had some holes in it. We found that a volunteer had a criminal arrest that we were unaware of, so once that door was open we started looking at the whole process and we tried to develop something that makes kids as safe as they can be," said Jim Foster, Beaufort County Schools. 

The district estimates that 1,500-2,000 volunteers will apply for the upcoming school year, and both new and current volunteers will be screened under the new process.

Each approved volunteer will have a badge, which will be required along with a photo ID when entering a school. The badge expires after one year.

"This new process will enhance our screening efforts, it will make procedures consistent in all schools, and it will improve communication between the schools and the district office," said Alice Walton, Chief Administrative and Human Resources Officer. "When we all work together – teachers, staff and volunteers – our students reap the benefits."

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