News & Resources

Florida county cites Jessica's Law for mandated background check

Jul 12, 2011 Matt Roesly

Volusia County, Florida, council members recently approved legislation that will require all school system volunteers to undergo background checks, according to WOFL-TV. The county is planning to spend $35,000 on the program. The move makes a statement to parents of children who attend schools in the area following the tragic 2005 rape and murder of 12-year old Jessica Lunsford by a previously convicted sex offender. As a result, Jessica's Law was enacted as a way to punish sex offenders and lessen their ability to commit subsequent acts by mandating a minimum sentence of 25 years for first-time perpetrators, according to Florida's Senate website. "People want to be assured that ... people that are employed by the school board have clean backgrounds, and we don't want certain people around our children," councilman Andy Kelly told WOFL. Payment for the checks may come out of workers' own pockets, however. The news source notes that some teachers, school personnel and contractors who work on site will have to fund the screenings themselves.