News & Resources

New bill seeks stricter background checks on school employees

Dec 22, 2010 Matt Roesly

Members of Congress are considering a new piece of legislation that would require schools to perform thorough background checks on any potential employees. The new bill, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by George Miller, a Democrat from California, would prevent schools from hiring a person who has been convicted of select violent crimes, including crimes against children, rape, sexual assault and child pornography. During debate on the floor of the House, Miller said that the new bill would send a strong message that people who abuse children, or do not do their jobs to keep children safe, will face serious consequences." The new legislation comes in response to a report from the Government Accountability Office, which found that many schools had allowed people convicted of sexual crimes to be hired. "In at least 11 of these 15 cases," the report stated, "schools allowed offenders with histories of targeting children to obtain or continue employment. Even more disturbing, in at least 6 of the cases, offenders used their new positions as school employees or volunteers to abuse more children after they were hired."