The new standard for schools in Wareham, Massachusetts asks that schools adopt a new background check policy for certain individuals who interact with schools in various capacities.
These means people who are not teachers but still have contact with the school. This includes people such as student teachers, maintenance workers, and school volunteers. Massachusetts already has the Criminal Offender Record Information check. It’s been in place for years.
The new background check is much more thorough. Fingerprinting is among the things required as part of the new process.
The school committee decided that student teachers and volunteers for overnight events take part in the new background check system and still take part in the Criminal Offender Record Information check program.
However, the new background check system was not without confusion. There were some questions about the policy in terms of outside maintenance workers. The superintendent of schools asked the committee to adopt a policy that would allow workers to work with just the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check, provided they are supervised by school staff. At least one committee member expressed concern about how this was going to be enforced. There was concern that no teacher or facility member would have the time or the resources to enforce the policy.
There was also the question of timing. A maintenance worker who has not completed the thorough background process may not be available to deal with an emergency maintenance problem.
For now, there is no resolution to the problem. Suffice to say, the committee put this proposal into effect because it wanted a more thorough and comprehensive background check.
Background checks remain a key part of the hiring process, despite the issues that sometimes arise when trying to decide on the best course of action.