Indiana tightens background screening laws for educators
As another academic year approaches, schools across Indiana are facing increasingly rigorous background check requirements for new hires.
Earlier this year, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed House Enrolled Act 1079 requiring all school workers to complete an expanded criminal background screening every five years. Teachers, support staff and administrators are impacted by the new law, which necessitates a criminal background investigation on new hires within 30 days of their start date, and a child protection index check 60 days after they’re brought on board. The legislation requires the Department of Education to revoke an employee’s license if they have been convicted of a child-related offense.
State Rep. Jeffrey Thompson, who sponsored the legislation, said the law gives school districts an extra layer of protection against possible misconduct.
“Hoosier families should feel confident that their children have a safe learning environment at school,” said Thompson. “Requiring extensive background checks on new and current employees allows schools to properly evaluate those who are in regular contact with students throughout the school year.”
Indiana lawmakers changed its school background check policies during investigation of 85 state-based cases of alleged educator misconduct, according to figures from the Indiana Department of Education. From 2013 to 2016, the department revoked 48 educator licenses for misconduct.
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