Ohio School District Expands Background Check Policy in the Wake of Worker’s Child Porn Conviction

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Featured Ohio School District Expands Background Check Policy in the Wake of Worker’s Child Porn Conviction

Ohio school’s Board of Education, the Bowling Green, has announced an amendment to its background check policy to require workers of third-party vendors to undergo background checks. This policy change came after a strength and condition coach’s conviction of a sexual offense toward a teen came to light.

The board voted 4-0 to approve the amendment to its policy requiring workers, even those not directly employed by the school district, to undergo complete background checks. The amendments to the policy, titled “Criminal History Record Check for Contracted School Services,” specifically state the following:

“Any person who is not an employee of the board or an employee of a private company under contract to provide essential school services who wishes to work with a student or student group of the BG City School District on the board’s property shall be required to submit to a criminal background check including information from the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation prior to being permitted to work with any Bowling Green City School District student on the board’s property.”

This change was in response to an incident where a coach at Bowling Green High School allegedly committed inappropriate conduct with a student. Following this, the employee’s conviction of disseminating a matter harmful to a juvenile came up.

At this time, the school district admitted it did not have a policy of performing background checks on third-party vendors. In addition, the third-party vendor that hired this employee failed to conduct a criminal background check and terminated the coach since the allegations became known.

Under this new policy, all employees at district schools will undergo a background check and be prohibited from employment if the candidate has been convicted of or pled guilty to any offense described within Division B1 of Section 3319.39 of the Ohio Revised Code. Offenses include murder, assault, kidnapping, sexual contact with a minor, voyeurism, disseminating matter harmful to a juvenile, domestic violence, and more.

As this case shows, it is crucial to maintain a comprehensive background screening policy, particularly when a position will have contact with a vulnerable population. A comprehensive policy can provide the information necessary to make an educated and safe hiring decision.

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