Teacher’s Aides in Iowa aren’t Required to Have Background Checks

By Michael Klazema on 1/25/2013

State law in Iowa does not require teacher’s aides to undergo background checks before or after employment, even though they have direct contact with minors. Most school districts still have their teacher’s aides go through some sort of screening process anyway, though it generally isn’t as thorough as the background checks that teachers, administrators, and coaches go through. In 2002, federal law was changed so that all teachers were required to undergo criminal background checks, and in 2007, Iowa law made it so that any teacher licensed by the state had to have a federal and state background check to comply with the federal law. The background checks required for teachers are quite comprehensive. The school districts do a nationwide criminal background check and they take fingerprints to run through the FBI database. However, these checks are not provided for aides, which still leaves children open to potentially hostile and dangerous people.

Many parents in Iowa are concerned about the lack of policy for teacher’s aides, especially because an aide was fired last week when it was discovered that she was involved with the torture and murder of a young girl. Paula Baniszewski, the woman who was fired, spent time in prison for her contribution to the murder of a young girl in 1965. She was employed under a false last name and wasn’t given a background check upon being hired by the school district. The reason teacher’s aides aren’t required to have background checks is because they are not licensed, and the laws only cover people who are licensed by the state.

One mother, who has three children in the school district, says that the laws should be more severe since it deals with people who have contact with children. She says it would be terrifying to look at the background of some people who are hired by the state’s school districts if someone like Bansiszewski can be hired so easily. Ken Trump, a member of the National School Safety and Security Services, says that federal background checks for all school workers could take extra time and money and could delay the hiring process. However, districts that don’t do background checks also risk losing their credibility. Recently, Iowa lawmakers discussed a bill that would make federal background checks for all school district employees mandatory, but the bill that passed only required bus drivers to now undergo criminal background checks. For all other employees, it’s up to the school leaders to make decisions about who needs comprehensive background checks prior to employment.

Companies like provide comprehensive background searches that employ a nationwide criminal database. The service used to search the database is called US OneSearch and it uses information from 49 different states as well as Washington DC, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Other useful services include US AliasSearch, which uses the same comprehensive nationwide criminal database as US OneSearch, but also searches for known aliases and maiden names. It uses a SSN and date of birth to access this information. Employers can also take advantage of the ongoing criminal monitoring tool, which allows employers to be constantly updated on their employee’s criminal history. If the employee commits a criminal act while employed, the employer will receive an email notification about the new information on their background history. This service can be renewed yearly to update the number of employees. Names can also be taken off the list at the time of renewal as well.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) and cofounder of the Expungement Clearinghouse - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit



Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • June 20 Repeat background checks are becoming more common, with companies in India leading the charge. What does this trend look like, and how can employers embrace it now to stay ahead of the curve?
  • June 19

    Every federal job involves a background check of some kind. These background checks and how they are evaluated vary based on job, department, and security clearance level.

  • June 18

  • June 14 Ban the box laws aim to improve opportunities for employment. Could they have the opposite effect instead?
  • June 13 Jacobs Petroleum Products is a regional petroleum company that operates throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland. Apart from their employees carrying much responsibility and have frequent contact with customers, the company’s hiring also tends to be segmented since individual store managers are responsible for hiring talent for their own stores. In this employment landscape, Jacobs Petroleum Products needed a reliable and effective way to screen its new hires for criminal infractions and other red flags.
  • June 12

    The University of Wisconsin System may tweak its hiring and reference check processes. The potential changes come after one of UW’s assistant deans was accused of sexual harassment.

  • June 07 Stories of abuse by coaches in youth sports leagues continue to crop up around the country, but rules and guidelines remain patchy and enforcement is often lacking. The struggle to implement an effective system continues nationwide.
  • June 07 Financial background checks, usually referred to as credit history checks, can be an effective way to find out if a candidate is fit to handle accounts, financial data, and other assets at your business.
  • June 06 The Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute recently commissioned a survey to find out how willing employers were to hire people with criminal records. The study indicates that managers, HR professionals, and employees themselves are becoming more comfortable with the idea of hiring and working with ex-offenders.
  • June 04 Are fingerprint background checks the gold standard for employee screening, or are they overhyped? We look at some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding these checks.