Blog

 
     

Michigan School District Revises Background Check Policies

By Michael Klazema on 5/31/2016

An Eastern Michigan school district is making moves to revise its background checks, after discovering that a parent volunteer was actually a sex offender. According to a report from the Toledo Blade, Monroe Public Schools recently barred a 47-year-old man from volunteering at one of their elementary schools. The man had a child at the school, but should not have been permitted to set foot on school grounds due to his presence on Michigan's sex offender registry. Now, in reaction to the situation, Monroe Public Schools is planning to add background checks for all volunteers.

The 47-year-old father was reportedly a frequent presence at Monroe's Custer II Elementary, where he would read to students or help teachers with other classroom activities. Whenever the man was in the classroom, there were other teachers there to supervise his interactions with kids. As a result, the school had decided that running a background check on him was not necessary when he started volunteering.

The school district is equipped and prepared to run background checks on parent volunteers. The Toledo Blade report noted that, since the beginning of the 2015/16 school year, the district has run 1,150 background checks. It was not clear how many of those checks were for volunteers and how many were for teachers or other school employees. However, it has been the district policy for a while that parents volunteering to chaperone field trips or other events must first go through background checks.

Now, the policy will change. Going forward, Monroe Public Schools wants to run background checks for any adults who plan on spending "any length of time" in the classroom. The district is also purchasing a new device that will allow them to run flash background checks on visitors. Parents will swipe their driver's licenses, and the system will do an instant search of the Michigan sex offender registry to find any red flags. In other words, the district is tightening its background check policies for both volunteers and visitors.

The good news is that no students were hurt or violated as a result of this particular oversight. The school has declined to disclose who the father was or what crime had earned him the tag of "registered sex offender."

The bad news is that Monroe Public Schools could face a bit more difficulty putting together an effective and affordable volunteer and visitor background check system than many other districts would. Located just 17 miles north of Toledo, Ohio, the town of Monroe is very near to the Michigan-Ohio state line. As a result, Monroe Public Schools could feasibly draw both employees and families from outside of the state of Michigan. Many schools will focus on state or county background checks for situations like this, but Monroe's location provides a perfect argument for why checks need to reach a bit further. If the district were only to focus on Michigan criminal or sex offender registries, it could be overlooking offenses that took place just 20 miles away.

Sources: http://www.toledoblade.com/Education/2016/05/23/Monroe-Schools-to-change-background-check-policy-on-volunteers.html

http://www.toledoblade.com/Education/2016/05/13/School-volunteer-a-sex-offender.html

Industry News

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.