With Emily and Palmer both in school this year and me working from home one of the things I was most looking forward to was working in their schools and helping out their classrooms. There is nothing harder about working then trying to decide what you can and can't make when it comes to field trips, classroom parties, and other special activities.
I was caught off guard when I went to each of their school orientations to find out what all parents had to do these days (at least in PA) to be cleared to volunteer. Let me preface this by saying that I do appreciate the efforts to keep our kids safe..really I do.
For my 3 year old's preschool because it is in the Catholic church to be allowed to be involved with the classroom (such as parties, field trips, etc) we have to attend a 3 hour workshop called protecting God's children. From what I hear this is not a fun class to take. For both of the kids we have to have a child abuse clearance form completed by the state of PA and a background check. The good news is that the schools are covering the costs of all of these things. The bad is that it takes about 8 weeks to get completed and cleared. Emily was quite disappointed that I was not able to help out with lunch room duty the first two weeks of school. To be honest only the parents with older kids were cleared in time to help with these activities so early in the year.
Palmer has his very first field trip coming up the 19th of October and I am very determined to be able to go with him. I went with Emily for her school's first field trip to the pumpkin patch and am very excited to experience the same with Palmer. There is just something so fun about going on a field trip and riding the big school bus for the very first time. Palmer's class is actually going to a very large dairy farm that has hayrack rides, pumpkin patches, and an orchard. It is going to be great...if I get my clearance back in time. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
To think there was a time where all you had to do was sign up.
*Update** So I was reading the local paper last night and found this http://www.khq.com/Global/story.asp?S=13199072 article. Basically a mom is suing the school district for the right to volunteer at her kid's school. The rule is that if you have a felony conviction you are not allowed to volunteer. This mom wrote some bad checks several years ago and now wants the right to appeal the process. Bret and I talked about this and felt that the rules should stay but that an appeals process to review cases on a case by case basis would be appropriate. What do you think?