Blog

 
     

Pennsylvania Senator Fights for Stricter Background Checks in Schools

By Michael Klazema on 12/13/2013

Pat Toomey, a Republican senator from Pennsylvania, recently introduced a piece of legislation that, if passed, would provide nationwide protection for students from potentially dangerous teachers, administrators, volunteers, bus drivers, and other school employees. Senator Toomey unveiled his new piece of federal legislation, titled the “Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act,” near the beginning of November. Since then, he’s been visiting cities and towns throughout Pennsylvania, working to build support and awareness for his bill in his home state.

According to Toomey’s website, the “Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act” would require all schools throughout the nation to require background checks on both new applicants and existing employees. While most states or school districts already maintain their own background check policies in schools, Toomey claims that the time has come to adopt a nationwide standard for school background checks. With a more consistent, across-the-board law regarding the screening of teachers and other school employees, Toomey hopes that American children and teenagers everywhere will be kept safer from potential predators.

While the new legislation would require full criminal background checks, one of the prime focuses of Toomey’s bill is barring known sex offenders from ever landing a position in a school where they could potentially harm a child. The bill was largely inspired by years of violent sexual abuses that students have had to suffer at the hands of educational employees abusing their power. Specifically, Toomey looks back at a case from West Virginia as the spark of creation for this particular bill.

The case Toomey has brought up repeatedly since introducing the “Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act” involved a 12-year-old boy, who was a student at a school in West Virginia until he was sexually assaulted, grossly abused, and violently murdered by the principal at his school.

While the case is horrific enough as is, it is most jaw-dropping because it could have so easily been prevented. The principal in the case had been fired from his previous post for a sexual misconduct charge, but the school had quietly and secretly helped him find a new position – at the West Virginia school where his macabre crime took place.

If the principal’s first school had reported his offense to the police, the boy's murder may well have never taken place. But since the first school knowingly passed a predator onto another employer – and onto another group of vulnerable children – they enabled his crime. Since the principal’s first school was actually located in Pennsylvania, Senator Toomey may feel a personal responsibility to address the problem. He’s certainly been influenced by the case: his “Protecting Students” bill contains a provision that would ban schools from helping known sex offenders to find new positions in the educational circuit.

Backgroundchecks.com provides screening options for both criminal records and offender registries.

Sources: http://www.toomey.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1190


Tag Cloud
Categories
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.