Summer staff hired to assist Bexley High School's music camp had to undergo background checks before they could march along with students.

Summer staff hired to assist Bexley High School's music camp had to undergo background checks before they could march along with students.

The weeklong camp held at the high school is designed to help ninth- through 12th-grade band and orchestra students get a head start on their performances before school starts Aug. 26.

The background-check policy was implemented this year after the Bexley school district assumed the task of reimbursing camp staff members for their work during the week of July 28-Aug. 1.

Because staff will be paid by the district, they were required to have current background checks, fingerprints and tuberculosis tests on file with the central office before camp begins Monday.

In years past, the Bexley Music Parents, a separate, nonprofit organization that helps support music endeavors in the high school, cut stipend checks for the temporary camp staff.

Now, the parent organization will donate money to the district to pay camp staff. Each of the seven staff members this year will earn about $300 during the week.

The background-check policy applies to all district employees who have contact with students, district treasurer Chris Essman said.

He said the switch occurred after Ohio House Bill 190 was signed into effect last Nov. 14. The bill requires all licensed and non-licensed school employees to complete the background checks.

Essman said school board members also wanted the district to move in this direction.

"We are trying to tighten things up and make sure things are done properly," he said.

Maureen Loy, last year's Bexley Music Parents president, said she thought it was inevitable that the district would require background checks for music camp staff.

"It's a precaution that every school has to take," she said. "If we didn't do it, then someone would probably shout."

Orchestra director Sandra Crandall said she thinks the change is for the best.

"I completely see the point for it," she said. "When it comes to the safety of students, it's just a non-issue. We want students to be as safe as possible."

Crandall also said the camp staff members are people whom she or band director Andy Johnson know professionally.

"We would not just have people in that we didn't consider of high moral character and highly qualified musically," she said.

Even so, Crandall said that it is hard to know everything about a person.

"We're not investigators," she said.

Sara Woodbury, a senior music education major at Ohio State University, is joining the camp staff this year for the first time. The cello player will be the assistant orchestra conductor alongside Crandall.

She said she has worked at other student music camps, such as one at Ohio State run by one of her professors. She also was required to submit to a background check there.

"I could be some kind of weird, creepy psychopath that slipped under the radar," Woodbury said. "You just never know."

It's a precaution that every school has to take. If we didn't do it, then someone would probably shout.

Maureen Loy

former Bexley Music Parents president