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Teachers, Child Care Workers Now Must Submit Fingerprints for Background Checks: What Do You Think?

Until a new law was signed by the governor on Friday, Massachusetts was the only state not to require nationwide background checks for school district employees.

 

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.

YiayiaOnline January 13, 2013 at 05:32 PM
It makes perfectly good sense to protect students and teachers, both. Those who are honest should have nothing to fear.
Earnhardt January 13, 2013 at 05:41 PM
Any extra steps taken to keep children safe are all worth it. Fingerprinting is a good step in this direction, Anyone who works with children should be fingerprinted. Unfortunately the unlicensed operators will fall through the cracks, That is why parents must always do their homework when looking at day care centers. One cannot work without the other,
SDK January 28, 2013 at 06:38 PM
Why was a paranoid schizophrenic allowed to buy a gun in the first place? Why was a suburban CT women storing her "fun to shoot" guns in her son's bedroom? Why not deal with the root cause of this problem instead of trying to stop the shooters once they are already on school property? I'm all for more school security. I am an avowed liberal and I do not oppose armed guards in schools. Everything helps. Even if the shooter kills the guard, that slows him down slightly. But I want people trained in combat for those jobs -- not some random physics teacher who happens to have an LTC / CCL and who is also trying to teach his class. I also want a comprehensive approach to our problem. Hoping that the guard kills the shooter before the shooter kills the guard is not what I call a comprehensive strategy.
SDK January 28, 2013 at 06:41 PM
It won't. But like a lot of legislation, something else will get better even though this problem may not get addressed. We have a lot of licensed daycares in MA. I don't see the need for parents to use unlicensed centers. However, our daycare is very expensive and the price might be driving parents to make these kinds of unsafe choices. We're not going to require every person who babysits for a friend to get fingerprinted and the line between babysitting and an unlicensed daycare is pretty thin.
dan January 29, 2013 at 01:44 PM
SDK (1) “Why was a paranoid schizophrenic allowed to buy a gun in the first place?” Doctors gave the paranoid schizophrenic a clean bill of health; and, they are not help civil or criminal responsible. (2) “Why was a suburban CT women storing her "fun to shoot" guns in her son's bedroom?” Where did you hear the guns were stored in the son’s bedroom? Why did the ACLU stop the law that would have allowed the mother to put her son in a locked up hospital? (3) “Why not deal with the root cause of this problem instead of trying to stop the shooters once they are already on school property?” What is you view of the root of the problem? By the way have you had firearm instruction for safety and performance?

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