Sen. Steve Knight, R-Antelope Valley, faced the Senate Education Committee this week, presenting his measure, Senate Bill 565.
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Certificated employees are currently subject to background checks by the school district, however background checks on volunteers is optional.
If the school district does decide to perform background checks on their volunteers, then SB 565 is necessary to provide them with the tools to protect California’s schools from being forced to allow criminals on campus.
SB 565 keeps students safe by modifying the list of persons who are eligible to serve as a nonteaching volunteer aide in schools.
Specifically, this bill prohibits a person convicted of a serious or violent felony, on parole, post release community supervision (PRCS), or parole from serving as a volunteer aide in the classroom, field trips, or other school activities.
“If we have certain rules in place which prevent individuals with serious or violent felony convictions from becoming teachers or teachers aide’s, it should stand to reason that volunteers, who supervise children in the same environments, be held to the same standard,” said Knight. “A parent should have confidence that their children are safe and secure while they are at school.”
SB 565 spurred thoughtful discussion between Knight and the members of the Senate Education Committee, while the measure was held in committee to continue discussions at a later date. Committee members were optimistic about working with Knight to amend the measure to a point where they would be able to support the bill in the future.
“I am hopeful that legislators on both sides of the aisle will come together so that we may find a solution that provides a safe learning environment for our children, our most vulnerable population,” concluded Knight.
Knight represents the 17th Senate District, which includes about half of the Santa Clarita Valley.
Here’s a copy of the latest text in Senate Bill 565.
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