Background screening bill approved for NJ board members
Jul 01, 2011 Matt Roesly
A recently approved New Jersey Assembly bill requires board of education members to undergo background checks within 30 days of election or appointment, according to the Bridgewater Patch. The bill was signed into law on May 26 by Governor Chris Christie and approved on June 14. It will mandate a criminal background screening as well as a fingerprint analysis. "Anyone who has been found to be convicted of certain crimes would not be able to serve," Mike Yaple, spokesman for the New Jersey Boards Association, tells the news source. He added that the rule had not previously been implemented because school board members generally don't come into contact with students. NJToday reports that the bill originally passed the legislature in February but was vetoed. The revised version includes the ability to bar from hire any individual convicted of bias intimidation or a fourth-degree crime involving a child. Any board member who is caught lying about his or her criminal past may face up to 18 months in prison and $10,000 in fines. Initially, the law required board members to pay the $85 screening cost out-of-pocket, but was amended following a protest by the NJSBA. As a result, districts will now reimburse members for costs incurred, Patch reports.