School background checks should not impose financial burden

Friday, August 15, 2014

A well-intentioned law to expand national fingerprinting background checks for school employees has been crucial for the safety of the commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents: its children. The problem, however, is that the implementation of the law leads to multiple, repetitive background checks and unnecessary, costly layers of government bureaucracy.

For employees of the state’s special education schools who often earn an average of $30,500 a year, these challenges will be further complicated by the passage of another new law to extend fingerprint checks to disability service providers. These employees often serve the same population, and it is only right for Gov. Deval Patrick and his administration to streamline this cumbersome process and make it truly work for all involved.

Special education school employees are dedicated to improving the lives of the children they serve, but it is estimated that 6,000 of these employees are now being subject to, and having to pay for, multiple fingerprint checks to get or keep their jobs. This was never the intent of a law designed to strengthen student safety, and this challenge will only grow with the passage of the most recent fingerprinting law.

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