Fingerprint Background Checks Will Soon Be Mandatory For School Employees - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/18/07-Whitehouse

Fingerprint Background Checks Will Soon Be Mandatory For School Employees

For many of us, driving the kids to school each morning, dropping them off, and trusting that we've left them in good hands. 

"You want to know who's teaching your kids," said Valicia Jones, a parent.  Others parents like Stephen Davis said along with who, they want to know what is being taught, and how their children are being taken care of.  It's a consensus among most parents which has prompted Texas state legislators to take action.

Beginning January first, Senate Bill 9 will require anyone certified to teach to undergo a fingerprint background check. The same goes for non-certified employees:  substitutes, teacher's aides, custodians and other school employees who are hired after January first, will also be finger-printed.  It's an extra safety measure some local school administrators said they welcome. 

Richard Peacock, executive director of student support services with Whitehouse Independent School District, said the new requirements compliment and enhance the procedures his district already has in place.  Whitehouse ISD currently performs background checks on its employees and volunteers, and fingerprinting provides just one more way to keep students as safe as possible, he said.

"Anything we can do to enhance the safety and security of our district for those students, I think any district would be for it, and as a parent and grandparent, I would welcome that," he said.  

"It shouldn't stop there," said Davis.  "I think it should be in any part of society where children are being taken care of by people other than their parents."

Officials told KLTV 7 each fingerprint and background check costs about $50, a fee the state will cover for its current certified employees.  As for non-certified and future employees, they will have to foot their own bill, if the school district doesn't pay.

Layron Livingston, Reporting.   llivingston@kltv.com  

Powered by Frankly