CALL 6: Teachers, school workers to get more background checks

Indiana now 'one of the strongest' screeners In US
Posted at 1:05 PM, Apr 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 18:02:34-04

INDIANAPOLIS –  Governor Eric Holcomb has signed legislation that will require criminal background checks for existing school workers, including teachers, every five years.

Supporters of House Enrolled Act 1079 say schools need to do more to keep predators out of schools in the first place.

Mike McCarty, CEO of Safe Hiring Solutions in Danville, said Indiana will have now have one of the strongest background screening requirements in the United States.

CALL 6 | Legislators tackle teacher sexual misconduct | 40K background checks a year performed for Indiana schools

“You have a large number of Indiana school employees who have never had a background check or only a statewide check,” said McCarty. “This law will go a long way to making schools safer.”

Highlights of the legislation, which takes effect July 1:

New School Employees:

  • Requires reference checks including checking with prior school districts if employed with a school in the past
  • Includes public and nonpublic schools
  • Adds human trafficking to list of crimes to exclude employment with school

Existing School Employees:

  • Requires expanded criminal history check every 5 years.
  • Requires schools to check 20% of school employees each year over next 5 years
  • Requires state courts to work with the Indiana Department of Education to create a program for sending conviction information to IDOE so that they can review against licensed employees

Call 6 Investigates recently found the Indiana Department of Education failed to immediately revoke licenses for teachers convicted of child seduction.

PREVIOUS | Legislators tackle teacher sexual misconduct | Lawmakers propose school background checks for existing employees following Call 6 investigation | CALL 6: Educator licenses not suspended despite sexual misconduct charges

In Indiana, you need a license if you have ongoing and regular contact with children in a public school district.

MORE | Mt. Vernon Schools teacher's aide accused of child seduction | Principal charged with failure to immediately report child abuse allegations | Why did Mt. Vernon wait 17 days to report alleged abuse? | IPS counselor charged with child seduction IPS officials waited 6 days to report alleged child sex abuse