Why Are We Upset?

 So apparently Texas has finally decided to do the FBI/DOJ background check on all of it’s school employees and teachers.  Are people really concerned that they are going to lose good teachers over this??? How about being concerned that right now you could have teachers in Texas who have committed violent crimes or sexual offences in other states.  I was shocked to find out that Texas doesn’t fingerprint.  I have to be fingerprinted and run through a background check each time I start at a new school in California.  I was also fingerprinted in Washington so that I could get my credential and begin teaching there.

I know that there may be teachers out there who had a pot crime 20 years ago, hell even a few years ago, thats not what I’m concerned about.  I am concerned that students are in the classroom with people who should not be in there unseupervised.

Texas to begin background checks on all school employees.

The Houston Chronicle (12/21, Sandberg) reports, “Educator groups fear a new Texas law requiring that nearly all public school employees be fingerprinted as part of an extensive criminal background check may rid schools of otherwise good teachers who committed minor offenses in their youth.” The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, requires districts to conduct a national criminal background check on virtually all school employees, including teachers and substitute teachers. Most Texas school districts “now conduct state background checks through the Texas Department of Public Safety, which can’t check databases nationally.” The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will process the background checks one district at a time. The state is “keeping the roll-out schedule under wraps,” according to Doug Phillips, TEA director of investigations, in order to prevent employees with criminal convictions on their record “from skipping from district to district.” Existing Texas law “prohibits people from being certified to work in public schools if they have been convicted of crimes such as murder or sexual offenses committed against a minor or a public school student.” If the background check should uncover a lesser offense, the TEA plans to inform the teacher’s employer of the history but not mandate any particular action.

        The Dallas Morning News (12/20, Stutz) added that “non-certified school employees — including custodians, cafeteria workers and bus drivers — hired before Jan. 1 will not have to be fingerprinted, but they must have criminal history reviews conducted.” All employees hired after Jan. 1, certified or non-certified, must be fingerprinted.


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