When parents send their kids off to school, they should never have to be worried about their safety. Those who take part in the hiring process at places of learning need to prioritize the well-being of the students in their care. This means ensuring their employees have a background that is free from unacceptable past criminality or any adverse behaviors. Unfortunately, when school districts don’t perform necessary background checks, it puts students at severe risk. When mistakes happen and individuals who are responsible for this process do not do their job, events occur that can impact the rest of a student’s life. The worst part is, these situations could be easily avoided with a small amount of time and effort.
This recent story from Tort Law News highlights just how important background checks are for school districts. In 2008, a high school student came forward about the sexual abuse he endured at the hands of his Algebra teacher. A lawsuit was brought to court against the teacher, and this year the student submitted another lawsuit claiming that the school district was at fault due to negligent hiring practices . It was discovered that when the teacher was originally hired in 1997, he had a long history of sexually abusing minors at other institutions. After being accused at a different high school years earlier, he left to escape responsibility for his actions and eventually became an altar boy coordinator. Following more accusations there, the teacher was also dismissed from his role.
When this individual applied for a job at the plaintiff’s high school in 1997, the school district did not do their due diligence and perform an adequate background check. This essential task could have saved countless students from sexual abuse.
The accused individual was convicted in a court of law and sentenced to 16 years in prison. Now, however, the student hopes to bring the school district to justice in order to prevent the same thing from happening to other students.
Ultimately, all employers should follow the rule of closely inspecting what they expect. If employers expect their employees to come to the table with no unacceptable past criminal behavior, they need to perform background checks.
If parents expect their school districts to hire respectable teachers, they need to inquire about what the school is doing to investigate applicant-teachers. School districts and employers should perform a thorough screening prior to hiring.
James P. Randisi, President of Randisi & Associates, Inc., has since 1999 been helping employers protect their clients, workforce and reputation through implementation of employment screening and drug testing programs. This post does not constitute legal advice. Randisi & Associates, Inc. is not a law firm. Always contact competent employment legal counsel. Mr. Randisi can be contacted by phone at 410.494.0232 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or the website at randisiandassociates.com