Park District Might Check Everyone

Article excerpt

Byline: Patrick Waldron Daily Herald Staff Writer

All coaches and volunteers working with children in Batavia Park District programs would be required to pass criminal background checks under a new policy being considered by park board members.

The policy is an extension of an existing procedure that mandates checks of all district employees. Under the new rules, those same regulations would apply to volunteers with non-district programs or affiliates such as Tri-Cities Soccer and Tri-City Youth Football, which use park district fields and facilities.

Board members got their first glimpse of the policy Tuesday night and are expected to approve it at their meeting in October. The measure is an extra precaution to try and guarantee the safety of children, which is what park board President Britta McKenna called "a top priority."

"As a mother, I wouldn't mind paying the extra couple dollars to know the volunteers have been checked out," McKenna said.

Park district board members first looked at the issue last year when they approved a policy that strongly recommended outside clubs conduct such checks.

With new state laws passed last year that regulate checks for employees, park district Executive Director Mike Clark said extending checks to all volunteers was a matter of "consistency. …