School Volunteer FAQs
Do all volunteers need clearances?
Pennsylvania state law requires the following volunteers to submit valid clearances:
- Volunteers who are responsible for the welfare of a child.
- Volunteers who have direct contact with a child, i.e., providing care, supervision, guidance or control of a child (using the common meaning of those terms, with child safety serving as the paramount consideration).
- Volunteers who have routine interaction with children (volunteers who have regular, ongoing contact that is integral to their volunteer responsibilities).
What clearances are required?
Three seperate clearances are required:
(1) PA State Criminal History Record Check
(2) PA Child Abuse History Clearance
(3) FBI Federal Criminal History Record Check (“FBI fingerprint clearance”). PA state law permits the School District to waive a volunteer’s need to obtain the Federal Criminal History Record Check (FBI Fingerprint clearance) if specific requirements are met. Click here to learn more.
Why are three different clearances required?
Each clearance request searches a unique database of records. The PA clearances for child abuse and criminal records are held in two different state databases, while the Federal clearance checks criminal history through a national database.
What should I do once I get my clearances?
Once you receive all your clearances, take them to either the main office of the school at which your child attends or to the Administration Building. Administrative Staff will review your clearances and add your name to a central database of volunteers who have submitted clearances for our district.
What if I have clearances for volunteering with other organizations?
The District will accept valid clearances provided they are not more than one year old at the time of original submission.
How often will I have to update my clearances?
Clearances must be updated every sixty (60) months.
What if I am not truthful about disclosing prior arrests or notifying the District of a subsequent arrest?
The statute makes the failure to disclose information a misdemeanor of the third degree.
How much do the clearances cost?
Effective July 25, 2015, the cost of each of the clearances is:
- Pennsylvania State Police Clearance for volunteers (free)
- Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance for volunteers (free)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report – PDE ($27)
- Volunteer Clearance Exception Statement (free)
How long does it take to obtain clearances?The length of time it takes to receive clearances is contingent upon the method you use for application. Applying online will typically result in a faster turnaround time. We encourage prospective volunteers to begin applying for their clearances as soon as possible.
How do volunteers submit their clearances?
Potential volunteers must present all three clearance documents to your child’s school or the Administration Building. Please do not submit partial clearances.
Do I need to submit originals of my clearances?
The district requires original signatures of both the volunteer and witness on the Volunteer Clearance Exception Statement. Copies of the other clearances are acceptable provided the official watermarks, where applicable, are visible.
I have students in multiple school buildings; do I need to submit my clearances to each school?
No. Since there is one central PDSD volunteer database, you will only need to submit one set of valid clearances.
What will the school district do with my clearances once I submit them?
The district representative will document the clearance information in a shared database that can be accessed by specific staff in the District. The database includes the names/addresses of approved volunteers as well as the clearance expiration dates. The documents are securely maintained in the District until expiration, at which point they will be destroyed.
Pursuant to § 6344 (b.1), the employer, administrator, supervisor or other person responsible for employment decisions or acceptance of the individual to serve in any capacity requiring clearances, shall maintain copies of the required information and require the individual to produce the original documents prior to employment or acceptance to serve in any such capacity, except provisional employees for limited periods as described in § 6344.2 (f) and outlined above. An employer, administrator, supervisor or other person responsible for selection of volunteers that intentionally fails to require an applicant to submit the required clearance before the applicant’s hiring commits a misdemeanor of the third degree. Agencies are reminded that the child abuse history clearance information is confidential and may not be release to other individuals.