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Monday, September 15, 2008


Some Ohio Teachers Avoiding Background Check Backup

Some teachers in central Ohio have been able to avoid the backup in background checks sending many teachers around the state back to school without the required checks in place.

The state recently passed two new laws requiring teachers and staff to get fingerprinted and undergo background checks through the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation and the FBI by Sept. 5.

The first law, House Bill 79, took effect in March 2007, and requires anyone teaching under a professional teaching certificate to undergo a background check every five years and submit their fingerprints by the September deadline. The second law, House Bill 190, requires professional certificate holders to submit those fingerprints to the BCI&I and the FBI checks.

All unlicensed school employees, such as cooks, janitors or volunteers, also are required to undergo BCI&I and FBI background checks as well as submit fingerprints by Sept. 5. These checks must be redone every five years.

The new laws have sent an abundance of people to these offices, causing a backup and extension in time for the process. However, in central Ohio, particularly Fairfield County, many teachers and administrators planned ahead and are avoiding the rush, according to an article by CentralOhio.

"We had almost 300 employees out of 625 that had to get them done this year," Rob Walker, assistant superintendent and director of human resources for Lancaster City Schools, said in the article. "We told them not want to wait until their license expired in June."

Lancaster City Schools had 250 staff background checks completed in May, and the other 50 were completed in June and July.

In other parts of the states, many teachers returned to school without first completing the required background checks.
It is expected most records won’t be investigated by Ohio Education Department's professional-conduct bureau until mid-September. Employees who can’t prove they’ve sent fingerprints to the state will have their licenses deactivated by the OED, and any unlicensed workers will be dealt with at the school level.

As of July, 12,000 school workers received notice their background check results hadn’t been received yet. More than 650 Franklin County workers and 350 workers in Columbus received notices.

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