News & Resources

School volunteer highlights need for background screening

Feb 08, 2011 Matt Roesly

School districts in Naples, Florida, received a reality check when it comes to the importance of performing background screening on prospective and current staff members and volunteers. According to WINK-TV, a volunteer at Pinecrest and Highlands Elementary Schools was arrested on Thursday after he allegedly had inappropriate contact with students. The school's board of education has enacted a policy that mandates background screening for anyone who works at the school, including a personal recount of any criminal activity, plus submission of fingerprints. But in this case, 60-year-old Robert G. Alter slipped through the process. Pincrest Principal Karey Stewart sent a letter to all families acknowledging that the school and the students were safe from such unsavory characters, but Alter's history reinforces the need for strict oversight. Per district policy, anyone employed or working at the school must submit to background checks every five years, including resubmitting fingerprints. Anyone who pops up in Florida Department of Law Enforcement records or FBI records is immediately withdrawn from consideration. The Naples News reports Alter was a Level 1 volunteer at the schools, meaning he typically worked under the supervision of a staff member and had his driver's license scanned against FDLE records during his screening process.