Law expands scope of background checks on teachers

Fingerprinting to become part of background check

Teachers, all public and private school employees and workers at licensed early education centers will be required to undergo background checks with fingerprints matched against a federal database after Gov. Deval Patrick signed the requirement into law late Thursday afternoon.

Massachusetts became the last state in the nation to require school and early education employees to undergo federal background checks.

The bill (H 4307) was given final approval by lawmakers on the last day of the 2011-2012 session. Rep. Alice Peisch, a Wellesley Democrat who filed the bill six months ago, said she became aware that people applying for jobs to work with children could have undetected criminal records from other states.

Peisch said she is not aware of any cases of teachers with criminal records, but there have been instances of other school employees with criminal records in other states. "We want to be sure we know as much as possible about people who will be coming in contact with children," she said last week.


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