Most employees working at schools in Delaware, including teachers and custodians, are required to undergo pre-employment screening
, yet construction workers and contractors are exempt from these checks. However, if a new bill is passed by the state, these contractors would also be required to undergo such measures.
Representative Ed Osienski is sponsoring House Bill 100. He claims that construction companies are in favor of it, too, claiming they realize children may be put in danger if proper background checks
aren't conducted. "Pennsylvania passed a similar law a few years ago," Osienski said to Delmarva Now. "I was actually approached by contractors about why it wasn't the case here in Delaware. So, I sat down and talked to several major school construction contractors and they were actually in favor of it." If the regulation is passed, any "contractor, subcontractor, or employee thereof" would be be banned from working on public school premises if he or she had been convicted of a violent felony in the last five years or had ever been convicted of a sex crime against a child, the source reported. However, the ruling would not extend to construction sites at which there were not yet children. Similarly, pre-employment screening for school board membership in New Jersey has also become stricter. The East Windsor Patch reported that a new law will require board members and charter school trustees to undergo criminal background checks within one month of being elected or appointed to a school board. Crimes including those that involve controlled dangerous substances and drug paraphernalia, robbery, aggravated assault, luring or enticing a child and resisting arrest, among others, would prevent a candidate from serving on a school board, the source reported. "Anyone who has been found to be convicted of certain crimes would not be able to serve," Mike Yaple, spokesman for the New Jersey School Boards Association, told the East Windsor Patch. "It's tough to tell which way districts are leaning because it's so new. When this came out, we supported it but said charter school trustees should be included in the checks." School board candidates will be required to pay for the checks upfront and will later receive reimbursement from the districts.