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After a reported sex offender was found volunteering at a San Diego school, the school district has drafted new rules to help screen school volunteers, who were not previously required to be fingerprinted for criminal convictions in San Diego Unified.

“We don’t want to alienate our volunteers because we are relying on them more and more,” said Ellen Tiffany, a manager in the schools’ community relations department. “But we can’t do too much to keep our kids safe.”

A preliminary version of the rules presented to a parent committee Wednesday night splits volunteers up into four categories, from those who come to volunteer once to regular volunteers who may not be directly supervised, and requires higher and higher levels of screening based on how involved they are.

Guests who come to visit a school once, for instance, will need to sign in at the front desk, present a driver license, passport or other government identification, wear a visitor badge that they turn in when they leave, and be sponsored by the school or a district employee. Volunteers who work regularly with children, unsupervised, must also submit a volunteer application, submit their fingerprints for a criminal background check and show that they are free from tuberculosis.

The policy is still in draft form and I can’t seem to find a copy on the school district website. I’ll post the proposed rules if I can dig them up.

EMILY ALPERT

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