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Pennsylvania state Senator wants better checks for school officials

Feb 18, 2011 Matt Roesly

A state Senator in Pennsylvania is trying to make criminal background screenings more stringent after the arrest of a local school official. The York Daily Record reports that a piece of legislation from Jeffery Piccola, a Republican from Dauphin County, seeks to prevent people like Newton H. Miller, who was recently forced to resign after lying about his background, from being hired. Though the current law prohibits anyone from being hired if he or she has been convicted in the past five years, Piccol's legislation would ban them from working in schools for life. But Robert Wildasin, a substitute superintendent in the area, said that he saw no need to overhaul the system and that he was confident kids were being kept safe. "I think... the safeguards are in place," Wildasin said in an interview with the source. "I think the proper things are in place, assuming that all the checks are done thoroughly and timely." On a national level, U.S. Representative George Miller, a Democrat from California, is seeking passage of a bill that would ban schools from hiring anyone convicted of crimes against children, rape, sexual assault or child pornography.