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Oklahoma City Public Schools Propose Limit on Misdemeanor Offense Ban for Volunteers

Individuals charged with certain misdemeanor crimes may soon be permitted to volunteer with children in Oklahoma City Public Schools. The school board heard a proposal earlier this month regarding changes to the district’s volunteer policy, which prohibits felons and those convicted of misdemeanors related to sex, violence, or child abuse, neglect or endangerment from volunteering …

Individuals charged with certain misdemeanor crimes may soon be permitted to volunteer with children in Oklahoma City Public Schools. The school board heard a proposal earlier this month regarding changes to the district’s volunteer policy, which prohibits felons and those convicted of misdemeanors related to sex, violence, or child abuse, neglect or endangerment from volunteering directly with children. The proposed changes to the ban would keep that part of the policy intact, but would allow those convicted of other misdemeanors, such as marijuana possession and petty theft, to volunteer with children five years after the conviction or probation. Many people don’t realize what a significant impact being convicted of even a misdemeanor offense in Oklahoma can have on their lives. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense in OK, contact our qualified criminal defense lawyers at Oklahoma Legal Center today.

Parents Excluded From Volunteering With Their Children

“I’ve been in the unenviable position of having to talk to parents who cannot volunteer because of something that may have happened 10 years ago, 20 years ago,” said Tammy Carter, Oklahoma Public School district’s general counsel. “Right now this is not working because we are telling too many people no. It’s our goal – or at least I thought it was our goal – to encourage parents to work with their kids,” she said. Board Vice Chairman Phil Horning says the issue is a difficult one, calling for more details about how many parents have been turned away from volunteering.

“We have excluded a lot of people from volunteering,” said Rachelle Taylor, a district volunteer coordinator. “Moral turpitude encompasses a lot of charges,” including minor offenses like petty theft and marijuana possession. In an effort to amend the policy in a way that it would still function but would allow certain individuals to volunteer, board members suggested instituting a time limit on the ban or basing the decision on the nature of an individual’s offense. Another change to the policy involves background checks, which are currently required for all volunteers. If the proposed changes are accepted, volunteers who don’t work directly with children in Oklahoma City Public Schools, such as those serving on a school’s community advisory board, would no longer be subjected to criminal background checks.

Contact an OK Criminal Defense Attorney for Help

According to Deputy Superintendent Sandra Park, parents are still permitted to participate in activities like going on field trips with their children. “We do have those exceptions occasionally that we’ve spoken about,” said Park. “I would see it very far and few between where we have a felony or a moral turpitude issue where we’d say this one’s the exception.” Being convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense in Oklahoma carries stiff penalties, some of which can affect the rest of your life. If you are facing criminal charges in Oklahoma City or elsewhere in Oklahoma, contact our criminal defense attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center to discuss your legal options. Our knowledgeable lawyers can help you protect your legal rights and may even be able to get your charges reduced or dropped altogether.

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