The PA House passed Act 153 of 2014 into law on October 22, 2014 and Act 15 of 2015 on July 1, 2015. These new PA laws took effect for the 2015-2016 school year and applies to employees and unpaid volunteers who are responsible for the welfare of a child or have direct contact with children. While many community-based programs and religiously-affiliated organizations have long required background checks for volunteers, these laws provides a specific directive on the timing and type of background checks now required.
The North Allegheny School Board passed the Volunteer Clearance Policy in April 2015 with an updated version passed on August 19, 2015. The policy identifies three types of school volunteers, listed below.
Independent Volunteers – Any volunteer who 1) works under the general direction and supervision of an adult employed by the District; and 2) provides direct services to students or may, from time to time, have or may be reasonably expected to have unsupervised contact with students. Examples of Independent Volunteers include, but are not limited to: volunteer tutors, classroom center volunteers, and chaperones for field trips.
Assistive Volunteers – Any volunteer who 1) works directly under the supervision and direction of an adult employed by the District; and 2) does not provide direct services to students or have unsupervised contact with students. Examples of Assistive Volunteers include, but are not limited to: homeroom parents, individuals who assist with school activities, and holiday parties.
Classroom Presentation Volunteers – Any individual who volunteers to present during a classroom lesson or school activity and is under the direct supervision of a classroom teacher or administrator during the entirety of the presentation. These volunteer opportunities are typically one-time events. Examples of Classroom Presentation Volunteers include, but are not limited to: Guest Speakers, Mystery Readers, TAG volunteers, and College Admission Career Day volunteers. Elementary Field Day volunteers may fall into this category provided they are under the guidance of and directly observed by a classroom teacher or administrator throughout the event.