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PA Moms Need Fingerprints and Background Checks – Who will bake the cupcakes?

Posted On: June 2, 2015 by Marc Neff

A Pennsylvania law set to go into effect July 1, 2015 will require that any adult who interacts with children in a school setting be fingerprinted, and submit to a criminal background check. This law amends and expands on the existing Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) and includes provisions creating clearance requirements for unpaid volunteers in schools, as well as requiring updated clearances every 36 months for school employees and volunteers. This new law applies to a wide array of adults including: school volunteers, parents, school officials, teachers, coaches, janitors, and chaperones. This new law emerged in the fallout from the Pennsylvania State University child-abuse scandal involving Jerry Sandusky.

 

The new law will mean even stricter standards for the school districts that already have implemented child-abuse clearances for parent volunteers. Although this new law was enacted to protect the children, the requirements set forth for a parent to volunteer could prove burdensome to many, resulting in a significant decrease in classroom volunteers. The cost of the process, which comes with a minimum of $47 for a background check, may turn away many volunteers.

 

Volunteers will be broken down into two categories, Tier I or Tier II. Tier I volunteers are those in contact with children at any school program including field trip chaperones and classroom volunteers. A Tier II volunteer is someone who helps decorate a classroom or prepare projects for teachers. Tier II volunteers must submit a volunteer application but will not need to go through the entire clearance process.

 
The interpretation of the statute has been under question but it is understood that the purpose of the statute is to eliminate threats to children. The burden of having to go through this process is minimal compared to the safety of the children. As of July 1, 2015, any and all parents interacting with children in the school will need to go through this new process of fingerprinting and a criminal background check.

 
All persons charged with crimes are entitled to the protections afforded by the United States Constitution and the rules of evidence in a criminal court of law.  An experienced criminal defense attorney helps to ensure that a defendant’s rights are protected before, during and after a trial. If you have been charged with or convicted of a criminal offense, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately. For a confidential consultation, contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff at (215) 563-9800 or via email at marc@nefflawoffices.com.

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