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Pennsylvania screening law may significantly affect school employment

Nov 06, 2011 Matt Roesly

A new background screening law sponsored by Pennsylvania senator Jeffrey Piccola and signed by governor Tom Corbett went into effect last month in state schools, WPXI reports. The law was enacted because of a 2005 high school incident where a hall monitor with prior cocaine distribution convictions had sexual relations with students. It requires all current school employees to disclose any prior arrests or charges by December 27. Pennsylvania Department of Education spokesman Tim Eller claimed that the goal of the legislation is to "err on the side of caution" when it comes to student safety. Employees risk being terminated or banned for life from school employment if they list a serious conviction, and it doesn't matter if the crime took place 30 days ago or 30 years ago - it must still be documented. If an employee refuses to fill out a form, they'll be subject to a criminal background check from the district. Those who lie or hide information will likely be fired and criminally charged.