The volunteer role of a parent at Peace Arch Elementary is under review by the district. (Aaron Hinks photo)

The volunteer role of a parent at Peace Arch Elementary is under review by the district. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Elementary school coaching by White Rock volunteer with criminal past questioned

School district says a review of volunteer at Peace Arch Elementary underway

Parents at a White Rock school are questioning how the Surrey school district screens volunteers, after learning that a former police officer who pleaded guilty nine years ago to dealing drugs while on duty was helping coach basketball at Peace Arch Elementary.

But while school district officials have confirmed they are “reviewing the situation” regarding one parent’s role with the team, and despite a variety of documents on the district’s website that describe the individual as a “community coach,” spokesperson Ritinder Matthew disputes that the person has been acting in any official capacity.

“The individual you’ve identified was not an official coach – there was a teacher that coached the team last year. This individual attended his children’s sporting events and supported the other coaches in an informal capacity. The school referred to him as a coach as a way to define his contributions,” Matthew told the Peace Arch News by email.

“While he was not left unsupervised with students, we are currently reviewing this situation to better understand his exact role on the team.”

Matthew said the parent in question will no longer be allowed to coach.

The parent of a child who attends Peace Arch Elementary contacted PAN last week with concerns about the criminal record-check policy in the district, and if schools are adhering to it.

“My biggest complaint is he is one that we know about – how many others are there that we don’t?” the parent wrote.

According to school district policy, a criminal record check is “strongly recommended” if there is overnight supervision, travel, minimal direct supervision by teachers, student contact which will be extensive or individual in nature, or discomfort with an interview for the position.

A criminal record check is required for anyone who serves as a “community coach,” and if a volunteer may have unsupervised access to students.

The parent who contacted PAN noted that concerns around the volunteer’s involvement were heightened when pandemic-related restrictions closed the doors on parents being able to watch their kids’ school practices.

The parent, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, didn’t suggest any wrongdoing on behalf of the volunteer, but took issue with the fact that he was in a position of trust at a school.

“I just want the district to be accountable and make sure the people volunteering are properly checked,” the parent said.

Matthew was unable to say how many criminal record checks were received for parent volunteers in 2019 and 2020.

“We have data at the district level for staff, but not volunteers,” Matthew wrote.

Attempts by PAN to connect with the PAE parent coach were unsuccessful by press deadline.

SchoolsVolunteerwhite rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Aldergrove Community Secondary. (Aldergrove Star files)
Noel Booth, Douglas Park, RE Mountain, and Aldergrove Secondary see positive COVID tests

As of Monday, May 10, 18 schools are currently on the Fraser Health exposure list

Email your cooking questions to Chef Dez at dez@chefdez.com.
ON COOKING: Chef Dez does parsley pesto

Pesto traditionally has fresh basil but it can also be made with another fresh herb

Langley’s Madison Sweeney a 5’8” forward who began her career playing for Walnut Grove Secondary, has signed with the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) Cascades women’s soccer team. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley’s Madison Sweeney signs with UFV Cascades soccer team

UFV ‘checks all the boxes’ for former Walnut Grove player

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

Elias Pettersson and the Vancouver Canucks drew a large crowd to the Abbotsford Centre in 2019. Canucks management hopes the crowds return for the planned AHL team this fall, and early returns are positive. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Canucks: ‘Incredible’ early interest for Abbotsford AHL tickets

Team has had a strong response to both e-mail information and priority ticket lists

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

Most Read