Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has signed a bill – H4307, “An Act Relative to Background Checks” – that closes an existing criminal history background checks loophole by authorizing the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and school districts to conduct national fingerprint-based criminal history background checks on all teachers, school employees, and early education providers in the state. To read the full text of Bill H4307, visit http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/187/House/H04307.
Bill H4307 not only requires school districts to obtain fingerprint-supported state and national criminal history record information for school employees, bus drivers, and subcontractors commissioned by the district to perform work on school grounds, but also gives investigators at EEC and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) access to use the results of state and federal criminal record checks in connection with licensure issues and investigations of alleged misconduct by educators.
Sponsored by the Joint Committee on Education, Bill H4307 requires school districts, private schools, and special education school programs that employ licensed educators to share with ESE any information, including the results of state and national criminal history record checks, which might be relevant to ESE’s investigation of alleged misconduct by a license holder or applicant. Bill H4307 also requires that the following individuals undergo a national criminal history record check:
- All individuals who hold an EEC program license,
- All individuals with EEC teacher qualifications,
- All current and prospective employees working in an EEC-licensed or approved program,
- All family child care providers,
- All household members (age 15 or older)of family child care providers,
- All persons regularly on the premises of a family child care home, and
- All individuals in an EEC-licensed or approved program who have the potential for unsupervised contact with children.
Prior to Bill H4307, school districts and early education providers were allowed only to conduct name-based Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) checks covering criminal history record information for crimes committed in Massachusetts. These CORI background checks did not include any criminal history record information for crimes committed outside the Commonwealth.
Under the new law, all newly hired teachers, school employees, bus drivers, subcontractors and early education and care and out-of-school time providers must undergo state and national background checks prior to the start of the 2013-2014 school year. All current employees must undergo national background checks over the next three years, prior to the start of the 2016-2017 school year. For more information about the passing of Bill H4307, read a press release from the website of the Governor of Massachusetts at http://www.mass.gov/governor/pressoffice/pressreleases/2013/0111-background-checks-legislation.html.
For information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and nationwide screening firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – at http://www.esrcheck.com or call Toll Free 888.999.4474.
About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):
Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more about ESR, visit http://www.esrcheck.com or call toll free 888.999.4474.
About ESR News:
The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at [email protected]. To subscribe to the ESR News Blog Feed, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/feed/. To subscribe to the complimentary ESRcheck Report monthly newsletter, please visit http://www.esrcheck.com/Newsletter/.