Blog

 
     

Las Vegas School District Faces Multiple Sexual Misconduct Allegations

By Michael Klazema on 6/4/2017
Since July 2016, 11 employees of Nevada’s Clark County School District have been arrested based on allegations of sexual misconduct with students, per a recent report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The newspaper theorized that the district’s employee background checks are part of the problem. The checks use multiple databases to check for criminal history but don’t always incorporate employment reference or verification checks into the equation. As a result, teachers who have been accused of misconduct at past schools but never convicted of a crime may secure work at other schools without raising red flags.

By the time a teacher is hired at Clark County School District, he or she has gone through multiple criminal background checks spanning databases “at the local, state, and national levels,” coverage notes. Terri Miller, president of Las Vegas’s Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation organization, argued that these checks create “a false sense of security.” Because of a trend widely referred to as “passing the trash,” teachers with histories of misconduct are often allowed to resign from their posts quietly rather than facing public exposure or investigation. This practice protects school districts from the reputational fallout associated with a predatory teacher or school employee, but also means that those predators retain access to underage victims, Miller claimed.

One example cited in the Las Vegas Review-Journal is Melvyn Sprowson, a former kindergarten teacher with Clark County Schools who was convicted of multiple criminal charges earlier this year. Sprowson was found guilty of misconduct with a 16-year-old girl who was a student in the school district as well as possession of child pornography and several other charges.

Sprowson had been accused of sexual misconduct at his previous school district in Los Angeles, reports note. Those allegations never led to a criminal conviction, so Sprowson’s Clark County School District background check didn’t turn up any red flags. When asked about Sprowson by the Review-Journal, officials at the Los Angeles district say they would have discussed his allegations if Clark County School representatives had reached out and asked.

The Sprowson case is still pending in court: while the former teacher has been found guilty of four criminal counts, his sentencing hearing won’t occur until June, per coverage. Clark County School District is making changes that it claims will help to make sure that similar incidents don’t occur in the future. Specifically, the district says that it has adopted new policies to contact the school districts where applicants used to work as part of the background check process. Before the Sprowson case, such a practice was not standard, reports confirm.

While going directly to the source could help Clark County Schools—and other school districts—uncover histories of sexual misconduct, it isn’t a guarantee, critics warn. Some districts are reluctant to discuss allegations that haven’t been proven in court, while others sign non-disclosure agreements with employees in exchange for quiet resignations. Pat Skorkowsky, the Superintendent of the Clark County School District, said there won’t be a foolproof way to keep abusers out of schools until there is a national law requiring school districts to report allegations of misconduct.

A bill in the Nevada State Senate would require districts to share more information about past employees. Coverage notes that the bill would only apply to Nevada schools, meaning that districts might still run into roadblocks when vetting teachers coming from outside the state.

Sources: https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/education/flawed-nevada-ccsd-checks-expose-students-to-sexual-predators/

Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • July 17 — Hourly Employee Screening: What Makes It Unique and Important infographic?Modern employers conduct background checks on most of the people they hire. These checks are most often used to screen full-time salaried workers. Part-timers and hourly employees are typically less likely to face a thorough background check or even go through a background screening at all. According to a survey conducted by HR.com, 67 percent of employers screen all of their part-time employees, compared to 83 percent of their full-time employees.
  • July 17 A Kentucky school district recently decided to stop paying for volunteer background checks. Going forward, volunteers will be expected to cover the cost of their own checks, which is $10 per person.
  • July 12 Seeking fresh employees for businesses, some states seek to reduce the number of people denied employment based on old or nonviolent crimes.
  • July 11 Multinational aerospace company - Safran Group - trusts backgroundchecks.com to screen new hires, The products they manufacture can have major implications for aircraft safety and worldwide security. As such, the company needs to be extremely careful and deliberate about who it trusts to join the organization.
  • July 11 Recently cited for driving too fast? Here’s what a speeding ticket will do to your background check report.
  • July 10

    Could your business be vulnerable to employee theft? Protect yourself with more thorough background checks.


  • July 09 While Social Security Numbers aren’t required for criminal history checks, they can be beneficial. Here’s why.
  • July 05

    In June, Chicago Public Schools came under fire after a Chicago Tribune piece accused the district of not protecting students from sexual abusers. The district has announced plans to run background checks on all employees.


  • July 04 — How important are volunteer background checks? Do they even matter?
    Organizations that rely in part on volunteer labor consistently find themselves asking these questions. The assumption is usually that volunteer background checks are less important than background checks for full-time or part-time employees. According to a CareerBuilder survey from 2016, 72 percent of employers conduct background checks on all employees. A parallel statistic isn’t even available for volunteer checks. They are less common – and less valued.
  • July 03 #MeToo harassment allegations continue to reshape workplaces in every industry. As a result, many companies are looking to safeguard themselves from liability.