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Policy calls for criminal record checks for trustees

The Nanaimo school district board is seeking public input on a draft policy for trustee criminal record checks.

The policy calls for trustees to submit a complete criminal record check to the school district secretary-treasurer following the municipal election. If a trustee is found to have a mark on their record, the secretary-treasurer would decide whether the incident relates to contact with, or puts children's safety at risk.

Whether the incident involved a child and sexual activity, acts of violence or dishonesty; treatment was received after the incident, likelihood of repeat offences, or drugs or alcohol were involved, would be amongst the criteria taken into consideration.

The secretary-treasurer would make a judgement and provide it to the board chairperson for review. The chairperson would then decide on what should take place – supervised access to school facilities or limited or no access etc.

Failure to submit a record check would result in the trustee being denied access to schools until a check is submitted.

Trustee Donna Allen proposed the record check motion in May, citing everyone that works with children must undergo a record check and trustees shouldn't be different. School district staff subsequently developed the policy, which was presented at the June board meeting.

Allen and fellow trustees Kim Howland, Dot Neary, Bill Robinson and Sharon Welch voted for, while Jamie Brennan, Nancy Curley, TerryLynn Saunders and Bill Bard voted against.

The draft is now out for notice of motion until Sept. 12 and people wanting to comment can contact school district executive assistant Cathy Kelt at ckelt@sd68.bc.ca or at 250-741-5238.

Donna Reimer, school district spokeswoman, said the policy could change based on input.

The aim is to have the policy in place in time for municipal elections in November.

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