Knox County Schools to begin running background checks

Knox County Schools to begin running background checks on volunteers

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Visitors and volunteers will soon have to undergo a background check before entering any school in Knox County.

The school board approved a proposal Wednesday evening that mandates background checks for anyone who has the opportunity to be alone with a student.

For instance, volunteers accompanying a class on a field trip would need a background check, but a parent visiting a classroom for a one-time presentation would not.

The district will foot the bill. It is estimated to cost $22 to $35 per person.

The checks will look at national, local and state criminal records as well as the sex offender registry. Volunteers responsible for driving children will also have their driving record checked.

It's unclear how many people will be affected by the checks, but costs are expected to go down over time as volunteers will only need the check once every six years.

PTA member Pam Trainor told 6 News she believes that though the checks may be extra work, it's necessary to give parents peace of mind.

School officials would like the proposal to go into effect as soon as possible, but due to a training period do not expect the policy to begin until after the start of the school year.

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