THOMASVILLE, N.C. - When you send your child to school, you might worry about how other students will treat them. However, you shouldn't have to worry about adult staff and volunteers.
This week, prosecutors charged a volunteer coach in Thomasville for having sexual contact with a student. Byron Lattimore is a volunteer basketball and football coach at the senior high and middle schools in Thomasville.
A school resource officer reported the possible sex offense. The female student admitted to sexual contact with the coach. As a result, the Thomasville School District has banned the volunteer coach from setting foot on school property.
"Whenever you get any type of report, even if it's an alleged report, it is shocking. We take any abuse of children very, very seriously in our school district," Thomasville Superintendent Maria Pitre-Martin said.
Pitre-Martin said all school volunteers must pass a background check before they can start volunteering. Lattimore had volunteered as a football and basketball coach for the past few years.
Even before this happened, the district's new superintendent said she was working to strengthen the district's relationship with the police department.
"We need to all heighten our awareness for any adult behaviors that could even give a hint or a perception of inappropriate behavior with our students," Pitre-Martin said. "Safety for our children is paramount. They are here to be educated. In order for them to be educated, we must ensure they are safe. When parents send their young people to us, we have to be able to ensure their safety."
Teachers are talking to the students about this situation and working to make sure every student knows how to report inappropriate behavior.
We also checked with Guilford County Schools and Forsyth County Schools about their volunteer policies. Both districts require *background checks* for all volunteers.
Guilford County Schools Volunteer Policy
Forsyth County Schools Volunteer Policy