School and child care employees now must be fingerprinted before starting employment.
On Friday, Gov. Dval Patrick signed a bill that requires teachers, workers at child care centers and school bus drivers to submit fingerprints for criminal background checks.
Until now, school employees have been required to undergo a CORI check, which only reveals whether or not an individual has a criminal record in Massachusetts, and does not indicate any possible criminal record in other states.
Fingerprints will be submitted to the Massachusetts State Police for a state criminal history check and forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history check, reports the Associated Press.
The state legislature passed the bill at the end of December, weeks after John Burbine was arrested on charges he sexually abused children at his wife's unlicensed child care business in Wakefield.
Other cases that unfolded in the past year include a former Newton elementary school teacher who was sentenced to 45 years in prison on child pornography charges; a Taunton High School teacher accused of various sex crimes against underage teens; and 30-year-old allegations against a former Foxborough educator.
Examples of what other states have: Oregon passed a similar law in 1993, and New York and Maine require fingerprinting of school teachers. Texas also has a fingerprint law for teachers, which led to a lawsuit against the Texas Education Agency by one teacher who asserted the law violated her First Amendment right to freedom of religion.
What do you think: will fingerprinting help keep kids safe, or is this a step too far? Tell us in the comments section below.