Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
On June 15, 2018, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced that all adults who regularly work in schools – including CPS employees, coaches, volunteers, and vendors – will undergo background checks for rescreening before school starts for the 2018-2019 academic year, according to a CPS press release.
The unprecedented step to promote student safety through background checks of all adult CPS workers builds on the comprehensive Plan of Action the district outlined in May of 2018 to protect students and will ensure that every adult who works in CPS schools contributes to a safe educational environment.
“As we work to carry out our comprehensive Plan of Action to strengthen student protections, we are taking the unprecedented step this summer of re-checking the backgrounds of all adults who will be in our schools next year,” CPS Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Janice K. Jackson stated in the press release.
The background checks will guarantee all CPS staff, vendors, coaches, and volunteers are evaluated through a process in place since 2012. Background checks are already required for all adults who work regularly in schools, and more than 157,000 background checks have been conducted since 2012.
“I want parents to have comfort that all of the adults in our schools will safeguard their children, and this is an important and necessary step toward rebuilding the faith and trust that our parents have in their school district,” CPS CEO Jackson stated in the press release that is available here.
CPS is the nation’s third-largest school district and serves 371,000 students in 646 schools. CPS will keep parents updated on a regular basis through a web page at CPS.edu/ProtectingStudents. Suspected abuse should be reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services at 800-25-ABUSE.
The strengthening background checks at CPS coincides with an investigation by the Chicago Tribune using police data, records, and interviews with teens that revealed “ineffective background checks exposed students to educators with criminal convictions and arrests for sex crimes against children.”
The Tribune reported that “investigators found credible evidence of misconduct” in 230 of 430 reports that school employees had sexually abused, assaulted, or harassed students. Chicago police investigated 523 reports of children being sexually assaulted or abused from 2008 to 2017, approximately one report a week.
“Due diligence does not stop after the initial background checks of applicants and neither does risk, so a post-hire rescreening policy is a critical component of any successful screening program,” warned Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR).
“Just as there is liability in hiring a person with a criminal past, employers that fail to conduct some type of due diligence post-hire could have the inverse issue of negligent hiring, and that is to retain a person they knew, or should have known, could pose a predictable risk of harm,” Rosen added.
ESR Offers Background Checks for Post-Hire Rescreening
Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) knows a post-hire screening policy is a critical component of any safe hiring program and offers a suite of rescreening solutions that include ongoing, monthly, and annual background checks. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/ESR-Solutions/Post-Hire-Background-Checks/.
NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.
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