According to the GHS website:
- All meetings will take place in the Library, and student (sic) are not required to participate. GHS counselors have been invited to attend.
- Volunteers will not view any students’ report card or records.
- The school district is sponsoring this partnership. Aki Kurose and Denny Middle School have had very successful Report Card Conferences in the past and we are planning on the same result!
- I think that this phrase "professional members of the community" sounds a bit snobby. Would a parent or community member who is a plumber or a homemaker not be allowed to come and talk with students?
- And, is five minutes enough for people who are not counseling professionals to:
- Also, if you were a volunteer, wouldn't you ask the student to see their copy of their first quarter grades? It might be info you need in order to provide counseling. And yet, there would be privacy issues with that.
Volunteers are not required to complete paperwork if they are in the building one time and working with a certificated teacher. They will be in sight of at least 3 certificated teachers at any time.
Here's what I wrote to the Board today:
I hope you saw the reply that Communications gave to me about whether volunteers for the Garfield Report Card Conferences this Friday have gone thru the process to be volunteers in SPS buildings working one-on-one with students.
"The school does not require volunteers to complete paperwork if they are in the building one time and working with a certificated teacher. They will be in sight of at least three certificated teachers at any time. Volunteers are trained. "First, the applicable Board policies are these:
There may be a flaw in this process because 5630 says:
"The selection and use of volunteers will be consistent with those policies and procedures as specified for unsupervised volunteers as specified in Policy No. 5005."Note that word "unsupervised." Apparently the Garfield volunteers will be supervised but that's not really the point.
However 5005 says:
"Volunteers shall be advised that they will be subjected to a name and birth date background check with the Washington State Patrol (WATCH). Volunteers may not start until this background check is completed."That says that all volunteers have to do the background check before they work in the building.
What I will say to you is this:
1) NO school should be making safety decisions on its own.
I am reminded that Roosevelt High did NOT have security cameras when it was built. As the co-president of the PTSA, I asked why not. I was told it was a building decision. Pegi McEvoy, Brian Vance and I lobbied for nearly 3 years before they were put in. On the day of the Cafe Racer shootings (just blocks from Roosevelt, Green Lake, and Marshall), I went to the school and asked the SPS security guards at Roosevelt who were walking the outside of the building with SPD how they liked their security cameras. They said they were very grateful the cameras were there.
As a former SPS parent and PTA president, I am aghast that the district is now playing fast and loose with student and staff safety. It does not matter if the volunteers are supervised by teachers. Do the teachers know each and every volunteer personally? I doubt it. How can anyone vouch for all these unknown adults in a school building even for one day?
As I told past Boards about the Roosevelt security issue, you are playing with fire. And one day when something truly bad happens because schools and principals decided THEY could make the rules, you will be very unhappy with the outcomes which could include harm to both students and staff. And, of course, the district will have lawsuit on their hands like they have never seen.
Do not allow yourselves to be the Board that let this happen. This is NOT about closing the achievement gap - this is about basic safety measures.
2) Keep in mind, Garfield does NOT have a good record with volunteers. That's already been proven.
I ask you - no, I urge you - to tell the Superintendent that Board policies must be followed in all schools for all volunteers.
end of email.
And readers, any of you that want to pooh-pooh my concerns, please don't bother because if not following Board policy about safety is okay with you, I'd rather not hear about it.
I'm already wondering if Aki and Denny had adults in their buildings who did not have vetting. And, did this Report Card Conference only take place once a year for those schools or more than once?
There is a reason the Board and the district have policies and procedures about safety. It is to protect both staff and students and it's worth upholding in every single case.
Because of something happen - like a volunteer leaves the library, wanders the school and attacks a student in a bathroom, what would the Board and the Superintendent say then? Sorry?
It is the Board's job and the Superintendent's job to do what they can within their power to protect students and staff. If they do and something happens, then they can tell the public they did what they could under district policies and procedures.
But if they don't and something terrible happens, what excuse can they make then?
The answer is, there is NO excuse.