Fairfax Public Schools Look to Expedite Improvements to Background Check System

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Fairfax Public Schools Look to Expedite Improvements to Background Check System
December 8, 2022

Fairfax County School officials have asked state officials to help expedite the process of upgrading the school’s background check system. This request includes improving the process for reporting arrests of school employees.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman drafted a letter to Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin and the state’s Secretary of Education. In it, the chairman has requested assistance in making these changes to the county school system’s background check process. This action comes in the wake of the discovery that a middle school counselor had continued working with students despite an arrest and conviction for sex offenses.

The counselor, arrested and convicted in November 2020 and March 2022, respectively, attempted to solicit sex from a minor. Unfortunately, unexpected issues prevented law enforcement’s email from reaching the school system. These issues allowed the employee to remain on the job until the recent discovery.

Now, the chairman wants the state to expedite the integration of the FBI’s Next Generation Identification Record of Arrest and Prosecution Back service. For example, the chairman would like constant real-time data on all arrests, convictions, and sex offender registrations of employees in positions of trust. Such positions include school personnel and others working with vulnerable populations.

The letter also asked the governor to take additional actions without waiting for legislative action. In the meantime, state lawmakers have begun passing legislation to improve the reporting process for arrests of school personnel. 

For example, State Senator Scott Surrovell introduced a bill to change the state code concerning school superintendents. This bill would require superintendents to make email addresses and fax numbers publicly available on the Department of Education’s website. This change would make it easier for the public to reach the superintendents and avoid email mishaps like this one. It would also require police to send arrest information through email and fax.

The county’s public school system has taken action regarding several additional employees in the wake of a third-party investigation. However, this investigation also revealed many gaps in the system’s hiring process. Such gaps included reference checks, licensing checks, and sharing of information between different jurisdictions.

As this case and the issues that led to it show, it is crucial to employ thorough and effective employment and continuous screening for employees. This action is especially vital for those that work with vulnerable populations. The best way to maintain effective employment and continuous screening is with a third-party screening provider you can trust. The right provider will provide fast and effective screening and alerts.

Interested in learning more about Pre-employ’s background checks? Talk to Sales today.