Kids run around on the playground, eat at lunch tables, and sit in classrooms and they have an adult on duty for each activity.
So you would hope that the people they come into contact with are safe.
This is an important message from a recent news article out of Iowa. However, while many school districts across the country run extensive investigations on licensed and supporting staff, some may not dig deep enough. In the case of the Iowa story, local lawmakers are considering a statewide policy to address the issue.
The difficulty is in knowing which states actually require schools to complete a background check, on which positions, and the extensiveness of those checks.
As recently as December 2010, the Huffington Post posted the blog, “New Report on Background Checks for School Employees Questions Safety of Our Children,” by Teresa Huizar, Executive Director, National Children’s Alliance. In her post, Huizar reveals that “the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a study on the lack of criminal history checks conducted on teachers and corresponding rates of sexual misconduct by school staff.”
Huizar mentions a 2010 USAToday article that details laws in all 50 states regarding criminal history checks for school employees. The laws vary widely. Some require those with “direct contact with children” to receive a criminal history check while others require that all school employees submit to checks. Fifteen states have no laws that explicitly prohibit sex offenders from teaching.
For family members with school-age children who want to take the steps necessary to protect their kids while they are in school, Huizar suggests:
- Talk with your school district superintendent about the background screening they conduct on employees where your child attends school
- Learn if your state requires criminal history checks and on which school employees
- Work with your local children’s advocacy center or state chapter of children advocacy centers to advocate for change
For schools looking for a full-service background check and investigative firm specializing in FCRA compliant employment screening, TruDiligence offers fast, accurate, comprehensive background checks, investigative screening, and verification services. Contact us today for more information on how we can help.