12 May Preventing Sex Offenders Access to Students
In 2010, the Government Accountability Office discovered hundreds of potential sex offenders working in schools throughout the United States. In response, the House of Representatives passed a bill in October 2013 (H.R. 2083) to adjust the hiring process and limit inconsistencies across the states.
Thorough Background Checks, including checks of state and national Sex Offender databases as well as the FBI fingerprint database will be conducted nationwide. School districts will be prohibited from continuing a practice known as “passing the trash” where they refer known sex offenders to other school districts. Any individual found with a misdemeanor or felony conviction of sexual misconduct or violence against a child, would be ineligible for employment within a school.
The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association filed complaints before the House of Representatives passed the bill. They cited concerns that background checks may have a greater impact on non-white applicants, inaccuracies within the FBI database as well as delayed employment of teachers due to delays during the screening process.
The bill puts the safety of our children at the forefront. It is important to prevent sex offenders (as teachers and contractors) from access to children. Unions should appreciate and embrace these measures as they also protect the professionalism and safety of their positions as well.
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