New Missouri law requires background checks for school volunteers

Law goes into effect August 28th

Superintendent of Webb City schools Tony Rossetti says district officials do everything they can to keep students safe.

“We still want to be inviting and where kids want to school, but we still have to balance it with safety and security,” Rossetti explains.

The purpose of a new Missouri law is to increase safety and security in those schools.

It says volunteers in any school district have to pass a full FBI criminal background check before they can be alone with a student — or see any educational records.

Rossetti explains the new stipulation won’t greatly impact the Webb City district.

“The number of people that I think are actually left alone to supervise kids for us is very low,” Rossetti says.

He also says when it comes to volunteers, the district has taken precautionary steps to make sure they have good people.

“We’ve gone back and always have them go through the child abuse and neglect background check, as well as.. it cross references if you’re on the sex offender list.,” Rossetti explains. “So, we’ve been doing background checks for our volunteers for probably ten years.”

But, a criminal background check is much more extensive.. and more expensive.

“It actually pulls back every other state that you’ve been to.. it is a full blown background check. So, it’ll be interesting,” Rossetti says. “We have not figured out yet exactly what our options are going to be as far as.. do we want to put them at that additional cost, or can we set up a system where they are not supervising systems by themselves.”

St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary school has also done background checks on volunteers as part of a training program for years.

Principal Joanne Lown thinks the new law is a great idea.

“I think the virtus training and really any school requiring background checks and special training for adults is just ensuring that school remains a happy place,” Lown says.

Webb City has also started using a system called “Go Guardian.”

It checks visitors against the abused and neglected children and sex offender registries before a visitor pass is given out.

Just another way for the school to keep students safe.

Rossetti says, “Safety and security with our regular staff, we’ve got that covered. But, you know you always want to be making sure that you’re doing your due diligence.”

For other laws that took effect in Missouri on Wednesday, click here.


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