Process of hiring volunteer coaches at schools - WNEM TV 5

Process of hiring volunteer coaches at schools

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A volunteer coach at a Mid-Michigan school is accused of having a sexual relationship with a student.

Situations like that are playing out at schools across the country.

How do districts determine whether employees, especially temporary ones, are fit to work with students?

"I think in all aspects of coaching you're working relatively close with the students," said Brandon Chapman, athletic director for Bendle High School in Burton.

He walked TV5 through the process the district goes through before a volunteer coach is allowed to work with children.

"We usually sit through a small interview process. First thing we're looking for is the character of the individual, their demeanor, what kind of vibe am I getting and coach gets," Chapman said.

However, not every school handles it that way.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association has no rules requiring school districts to complete mandatory background checks on volunteer employees.

Chapman said the Burton school district does run a check on every volunteer their students would interact with.

"Everyone after that interview process, we do  little background research on them. They fill out paperwork for fingerprinting, which they have to have done through the GIST or another place. Then we also do a criminal history check," Chapman said.

He said they do more than just a background check. They also check the person's social media outlets and look for how they interact with people outside of the school.

Even with their extensive screening, Chapman said there's still no way to truly know what someone is capable of.

"I think it's a great process. Does it catch everything? No, it doesn't and I don't think any process really does. But at the same time, we try to cover as much as we can control and look for the safety of our students first," Chapman said.

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