South River looks into mandatory background checks for volunteer coaches

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SOUTH RIVER–To ensure the safety of youth in the borough, the South River Parks and Recreation Advisory Board is requesting mandatory background checks for volunteer coaches.

“On Feb. 16, the South River Parks and Recreation Advisory Board wrote to the mayor with our background checks recommendation. We felt making this recommendation for mandatory background checks for all volunteer coaches would help ensure the safety of the youth,” Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Chairman Charles Basner said after the first reading of an ordinance during a council meeting on March 12.

The Parks and Recreation Department offers T-ball, baseball, softball, basketball, wrestling, street hockey and soccer, all of which have volunteers involved, according to Basner.

Basner said the borough has not yet determined who will perform the background checks.

“We have discussed with the South River Police Department and we will be following New Jersey State Police procedures for background checks of volunteers,” he said. “After the ordinance is adopted we will look to begin implementing background checks as soon as possible. All coaches will be required to have annual background checks.”

The ordinance’s second and final reading was scheduled for March 26.

For more information, visit www.southrivernj.org/agendas/council/ or www.southrivernj.org/parks_recreation_main.html.

Contact Vashti Harris at [email protected].