What Every School District Should Know
FBI Fingerprinting + Safe & Sound Education =
Comprehensive Background Check
Students deserve an emotionally supportive and safe environment where they can learn without the fear of coming in contact with criminals masquerading as trusted professionals and volunteers. To help eliminate criminals from the educational system, school districts are required to fingerprint new employees and encouraged to conduct comprehensive criminal background screening at the county, state and federal levels.
Start at the source
Virtually all criminal records originate at county courthouses across the nation. Depending on time and resources, counties periodically report up to the state agency. In turn, some states report up to the FBI on a voluntary basis. But because both state and FBI records depend on counties reporting up to the next levels, there may be holes in the state and FBI criminal databases. For example, state and FBI records may show an arrest but lack an update that reports whether the accused was actually convicted of the crime. Consequently the most accurate criminal records are stored at the county courthouses.
Realize the state of databases
It’s also important to know state criminal database searches provide results only from the specific state for which they are run. If an out-of-state offender refuses to follow the law and register with the new state upon arrival, the criminal record from the other state will not appear in the new state’s criminal database.
Add fingerprint to other background checks
Fingerprint searches access both state and FBI clearinghouse records yet, as mentioned, these databases are not always complete due to the reporting up process originating at the county level. While fingerprinting will generate results from state and FBI records, it will not always be exhaustive as there are no county courthouse checks as part of the fingerprinting process.
While there is no perfect or guaranteed school employee background screening, school districts can proactively deter criminals by conducting fingerprint searches and annual comprehensive background checks on employees, volunteers and others.