Blog

 
     

New Indiana Teacher Background Check Bill Arouses Contentious Debates

By Michael Klazema on 1/29/2015

Indiana House Bill 1068 is a piece of proposed teacher background check legislation that, if passed, would change the way that educators are screened, both before and after hiring. Existing state laws only require state criminal checks, and only as a pre-employment measure. That means that individuals with serious criminal convictions in other states can be hired as teachers. It also means that an existing teacher could commit a slew of crimes after being hired, and continue to work in a school without consequence.

House Bill would correct one of those issues, but would leave the other unresolved. The legislation proposes that teacher background checks be updated every five years. It's a smart idea that would help to keep teachers accountable to their employers and honest about any criminal activity that might take place after their hire date. Less smart is the fact that the bill evidently includes no provisions that would update the reach of Indiana teacher background checks. Quite simply, state checks are not enough to ensure the trustworthiness of a teacher or guarantee the safety of a child. All states should have laws in place that require nationwide criminal checks for any educators who spend substantial time with children. Otherwise, sex offenders, child abusers, or other dangerous individuals could easily slip into the system, simply because their crimes were committed in another state.

Instead, House Bill 1068 includes a proposal to implement credit history checks for Indiana teachers. This section of the legislation has caught a lot of attention and generated substantial debate and criticism. It's not difficult to see why that is: generally, credit history checks are only run for jobs that would involve the handling of money or business finances. Since teachers don't generally handle money, aside from maybe a few field trip payments for students, it's curious that such a provision would even be proposed. To put it simply, financial history is just not a relevant piece of information to know about a teacher. It has no bearing on a person's fitness or qualification to work with kids or educate.

Given all of the contentious debate around House Bill 1068, it's highly unlikely that the Indiana legislation will pass at least not in its current form. Hopefully, though, the House will opt to revise the bill instead of completely scrapping it. After all, repeat background checks are an important policy to have in place in schools, and Indiana schools do need a bit of an update to their background check policies. Perhaps the provision about credit history checks could be replaced with a plan to require nationwide checks.

Source: http://www.heraldbulletin.com/opinion/editorial-indiana-bill-goes-too-far-in-teacher-background-checks/article_5d3603e1-7b07-51cc-88a6-a3adf2888d63.html


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.