It looks like change is coming regarding background checks in one state. This time, we’re looking at the state of Pennsylvania, where teachers and other school employees will likely undergo more rigorous background checks.
This is all because of recent approved legislation that has gone to the Pennsylvania governor’s office. Earlier this month, Pennsylvania House lawmakers voted unanimously in favor of a bill that would require schools and any contractors conduct complete background checks before offering jobs to anyone who has contact with students.
There are many components of the bill. School districts are not allowed to hide information on suspected abuse or misconduct. Doing so could result in civil penalties for providing false information.
There’s more. School districts would not be able to agree to expunge or suppress information about an investigation into abuse or sexual misconduct.
There’s another key component to this bill: It would bar schools from transferring “problem teachers” from one school district to another school district. The governor says he will likely sign the bill.
There are numerous reasons for background checks. We know that background checks and pre-employment screening are vital parts of the hiring process. This helps employers obtain important knowledge about a potential employee. From a legal standpoint, a proper and thorough background check can prevent a negligent hiring lawsuit.
The right background check can also increase the chances of a safe working environment. Or a safe teaching environment, as we are seeing in Pennsylvania.
School administrators and human resources managers should be aware of a potential employee’s employment history and know if there is any criminal background history.
A complete, thorough background check will also give an employer confidence that the potential employee has not represented any facts. This allows for a healthier work environment and, hopefully, a healthier teaching environment.