Legislation Requiring Criminal Background Checks For All School Employees Making Its Way Through General Assembly
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By: Erin Smith
A bill working its way through the General Assembly would soon require all schools to perform criminal background checks on all personnel. The bill titled “Protects Students in Schools” requires Charter School board of directors to adopt a policy that requires applicants to undergo a criminal background check. It also contains language that requires the local board of education for public schools to also adopt a policy requiring background checks on personnel.
Bladen County Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor said, “We do background checks on all employees. The district will cover the costs of that.” He added the district already performs criminal background checks on all employees and the district staff feel they already meet the standard.
“Anytime we have a negative result on a background check, we make a decision based on what kind of job person applied for,” said Dr. Taylor.
For example,. if someone applies to drive a bus and they have a lot fo traffic violations, they would not be hired. Dr. Taylor said if some has a sex offender violation, that would preclude the school district from hiring them because of the many restrictions the potential employee would have placed upon them due to their sex offender status.
Dr. Taylor said the school district also performs criminal background checks on all volunteers. “That is something we have done for years,” said Dr. Taylor.
Kate Alice Dunaway, with Emereau:Bladen Charter School, said no one is offered a contract without completing a criminal background check. She explained there are specific laws that address the Charter Schools and also address criminal background checks. Dunaway explained Charter Schools are required to meet or exceed the local school district standards.
Dunaway said the policy for background checks for Emereau:Bladen requires criminal background checks be performed on all members of the Emereau:Bladen board, all school personnel and all volunteers.
“We have a company that performs background checks for corporations other entities so we have the most reliable information,” said Dunaway.
The proposed bill also requires a school district to notify, upon inquiry, another school district or charter school or NC DPI if the individual’s criminal history is the reason for a resignation or dismissal. This comes after several issues have ocurred in the state involving teachers with criminal histories. One report by WRAL involves an exchange of text messages between a teacher and her student. The teacher in question was fired from Johnston County but was rehired by Sampson County as a teacher. The teacher was found to have exchanged inappropriate texts with one of her students and fired. For the full report, click here.Share: