Pelham City Schools proposes revisions to background check lunch policy

PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Pelham City Schools are proposing revisions to a controversial policy put into place this year. The rule requires parents to undergo and paid for background checks before they can have lunch with their children at school.

That caused concern for some parents, who said they could not afford the $15 fee, and it also raised questions about whether parents without Social Security numbers would be able to visit.

In a plan unveiled at Monday night’s board meeting, Superintendent Scott Coefield said he is proposing some revisions to the policy that would go into effect starting next school year. The new policy would continue the background check policy for volunteers or chaperones, but not for those who are simply attending lunch.

Those parents would have to sign up under a new visitor management system. Under the system, parents would have to let the school system know of their intent to visit by 9 AM that morning. When parents arrived, their names would be run against the sex offender registry, but not a full background check. That will be at no expense to the parents.

Coefield says the revisions have been received well by most parents, but he is still waiting for a period of review and feedback before the school board will vote on whether to adopt the changes. That could come in the next two to four weeks, depending on the reaction from parents.

In the meantime, the current visitor policy will remain in place. Coefield said there may be principal-designated days that it will be lifted so parents can still have lunch at school without undergoing background checks.

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