Passed by the 2007 Texas Legislature, Senate Bill 9 (aka the “Fingerprinting Bill”) set the requirements for fingerprint-based criminal background checks for certain school employees in Texas Public schools.
Does Senate Bill 9 do enough to keep Texas schools safe? While the bill is a step towards safer schools, FBI fingerprinting searches do not always return complete and accurate records. As the most accurate criminal records are stored at county courthouses, a comprehensive background check should be used in conjunction with FBI fingerprinting to ensure that employees and applicants are thoroughly screened before entering the classroom.
Senate Bill 9 requires the following to be fingerprinted prior to employment:
- All Texas state-certified educators
- All classroom substitute teachers and educational aides (certified or not)
- Non-certified employees hired by a district or charter school on or after 1/1/08
- Charter school employees, whether certified or not, working in a teaching or professional position
- Contracted employees hired on or after 1/1/08 who have direct contact with students
The following are subject to a name-based check:
- Non-certified employees hired before 1/1/08
- Contracted employees hired before 1/1/08 who have direct contact with students
- Student teachers
- Volunteers, unless they are a parent, grandparent, or guardian of a student; a person accompanied on campus by a district employee; or a person volunteering for a single event