Watch D.O.G.S. coming to elementary school

Still need funding for background checks

The Watch D.O.G.S. volunteer program is getting a second chance in the Greene County Schools.

Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) is a school-based father involvement program of the National Center for Fathering. Watch D.O.G.S. places a volunteer father, grandfather, uncle, or father figure in the school every day, identifiable in a special T-shirt and wearing a “Dog Tag.” He would participate in a variety of ways, actively engaging not only with his own students, but with other students as well.

The program was first “pitched” to the board nearly two years ago, but organization stalled. At the board’s Nov. 19 meeting, Pastor Devin Wolters of First Baptist Church in Jefferson, told the board he has raised $850 to implement the program and asked for the board’s approval to implement the program.

The board gave its approval, but funding is still an issue due to the need for background checks on volunteers.

Every school volunteer who works with children must first have a background check, for which the school pays $15. Elementary principal Scott Johnson noted the men will be in the school only one day each and will not be alone with students. Wolters said volunteers could be checked in the school’s Keeping Track program, and a full background check could be done only on those flagged in the program.

By consensus, the board decided background checks will be required of all volunteers, but the school won’t pay for them. Board member Steve Fisher suggested Wolters solicit service clubs and businesses for donations to cover the background checks.

The money already raised will pay for a start-up kit for the program and volunteer recruitment efforts. Each volunteer will be asked to pay $12 for his Watch D.O.G.S. T-shirt.

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