School policy on volunteers
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED Sep. 17, 2013
CAPE CORAL, Fla.- We've been following the story of Oasis middle school teacher Shay Pearson.
She's been put on leave for letting Justin Marecz do some volunteer work for the oasis parent teacher organization, before the school year even started.
Marecz is a convicted felon.
Pearson says she wasn't aware of his background but the school put her on leave for not following it's policy.
but did she break school policy?
It's a question that doesn't have a clear answer.
Middle school teacher Shay Pearson is crying because she's not in the classroom with her students.
Pearson says "its something I've come to love."
But last week Cape Coral police were going to issue Kenneth Pearson a restraining order when he showed up on campus - only to find out he had guns in his car.
He's now in jail.
But now Shay Pearson is in trouble too!
A friend of a friend, Justin Marecz asked shay if he could help her out with some volunteer work for a PTO fundraiser.
Marecz handed her a form to be signed and notarized... telling her it was for a traffic violation.
What Shay Pearson didn't know -- is that Marecz is a convicted felon.
And once the school learned she allowed him in her classroom without prior approval -- they put her on administrative leave and started an investigation.
Shay Pearson's attorney says this is unfair.
Mike Chionopoulous says "They are now victimizing her for being a victim."
But what exactly is the policy on volunteers?
Here's what we do know.
The charter school website has a "parent involvement policy" where documentation is required for processing background checks.
But it says nothing about what criteria would disqualify a volunteer.
In reviewing the charter school handbook, there wasn't anything on non-parent volunteers but did find this notation:"for work outside of school, you need to fill out the volunteer form and get office approval for the activity or contribution."
Again -- Shay Pearson never got prior approval from the school for Marecz's volunteer work.
But she points out that the work was for a non-profit parent teacher organization... not the school.
She says the whole experience has been frustrating.
Pearson says "all my actions that I've always done have always been for the greater good of my children and my school."
City representatives explained Dr. Pruitt is reviewing all the information and hopes to be able to provide a decision on what will happen with shay Pearson by the end of this week.