The Oklahoma City School Board discussed Monday whether to change a policy that bans volunteers convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors.
The volunteer services policy requires background checks on all volunteers. Anyone “convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude” cannot serve as a volunteer.
The proposed change would only prohibit felons.
Examples of crimes of moral turpitude include petty theft and marijuana possession, said Tammy Carter, the district's general counsel.
“I've been in the unenviable position of having to talk to parents who cannot volunteer with their kids because of something that may have happened 10 years ago, 20 years ago,” Carter said.
“Right now, this is not working because we are telling far too many people no. It's our goal — or at least I thought it was our goal — to encourage parents to work with their kids,” she said.
Board Vice Chairman Phil Horning said the issue is difficult and he wanted to more know details about how many volunteers have been turned away.
“We have excluded a lot of people from volunteering,” said Rachelle Taylor, a district volunteer coordinator. “Moral turpitude encompasses a lot of charges.”
District 1 board member Lyn Watson suggested the policy have a time limit.
Board Chairwoman Angela Monson said she would like the decision to be based on the nature of the offense.
Deputy Superintendent Sandra Park said parents still have the right to participate in activities as parents, such as going on field trips with their children.
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