We at School on Wheels care deeply about the safety of the children we serve, and we have several policies and practices in place to ensure this safety. We begin during the recruiting process. Before we match a volunteer with a student, they must submit to a Live Scan fingerprint background check, which we review, and we must speak with two character references who are not related to the volunteer. During our training process, we include guidelines and suggestions for setting healthy boundaries. During the tutoring process itself, we have specific rules and a code of conduct:
- Tutoring is scheduled so that two or more adults are present together at the same time and place.
- For smaller locations with only one tutor, the tutor must work with their student within sight and earshot of a shelter representative, parent, or guardian at all times.
- Tutoring must take place in a public area, even when multiple tutors or adults are present.
- Tutors must refrain from initiating physical contact with students.
- Tutors, students, parents, guardians, or shelter staff must report immediately to their Coordinator or School on Wheels staff if they feel uncomfortable in a situation.
We have additional policies covering situations such as field trips. Field trips can only be arranged by tutors who have been matched with their student(s) for at least three months, and at least one other tutor and student must attend, as well. All School on Wheels employees are mandated reporters and we have formal procedures in place for volunteers to report any issues or suspicions of abuse.
All volunteers are required to log tutoring hours via the School on Wheels database. Logging is a critical and mandatory part of being a volunteer in our program. This policy is not only for the safety and security of our students, but also to protect our tutors. With accurate logging, we can identify precisely where and when tutoring takes place and who was present.