Ottawa is one of the last remaining Public school boards in Ontario which does NOT have criminal checks for ALL volunteers.
The culture of the schools and their translation of the policy 555 SCO is that "as long as it isn't an overnight trip they don't need a criminal check done" I heard this statement almost word- for- word from so many parents. I’m trying to change a “culture” not just a policy.
I’m trying to change a culture to realize that while a parent may have the "right" to have access to their own child but they do not have the right to have access to other children. To change a thinking that the same volunteers who spend so much of their time wouldn’t be more than willing to fill out a form and take it to a police station, and many volunteer elsewhere and have had criminal checks done somewhere else. To change the thinking to realize that most volunteers AGREE with criminal checks and also realize their importance. To change the thinking that asking a parent/ grandparent volunteer to have a criminal check would “offend them” or possibly stop them from volunteering. To change the thinking that the school board would collapse if criminal checks were asked -- when 90 % of Ontario Public school board have this in place and survive quite well. To change the thinking of parents that once they let the child inside the school that we can trust our schools to be doing the right thing and assume they are making child safety a priority.
I have spoken with so many sections of government and while they agree with me, I find there is a step back from getting involved and the finger is pointed towards someone else. I don’t care which organization, agency or person who is responsible for changing this policy... when it comes to the safety and innocence of children I think it is everyone’s responsibility -- especially when a portion of our taxes goes towards school boards.
Sign up under "get involved" in the Ottawa-Carleton school board website and sign up to receive emails on up coming board meetings. Contact your school trustee to attempt to have this issue addressed sooner.