In April of this year Mass. Gen. Law ch 71 § 38R went into effect. This law mandates that the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and school districts conduct fingerprint-based national criminal background checks on all teachers, employees, and early education providers operating within the Commonwealth. Before this law was in place, the above mentioned employees were subject only to Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) checks, which only cover crimes committed in Massachusetts. This new law greatly expands the availability and depth of inquiry into the background information for prospective educational employees.
Who will be affected?
This law will apply to public and private schools as well as special education and day care programs. The law will further extend to all individuals with teaching licenses, all employees working within licensed programs, family child care providers, all household members of family child care providers (over the age 15), and all individuals in licensed programs who will have unsupervised contact with children. Further, the fingerprinting and background checks will apply to anyone seeking to adopt or foster children.
Pursuant to the law, all newly hired teaches, janitors, bus drivers, and subcontractors must comply with the finger-printing prior to the commencement of the 2013-14 school year. Current faculty and staff around the Commonwealth will have three years to comply.
The fingerprints will be submitted to the state police for a statewide criminal background checks. Thereafter the fingerprints are forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation where a nationwide background check will take place. According to the governor, neither the state nor individual school districts will be responsible for footing the bill for the fingerprinting. Rather, the individual subject to the fingerprinting will have to pay a fee. The fee will range from $35-$55.
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