Every adult employee or volunteer who has interactions with students will be background screened before the next school season begins.
The Reason For These Screenings
The goal is to create a safer environment for students in Chicago. CEO of the Chicago Public School District (CPSD), Dr. Janice K Jackson, said: “Creating a safer school district for our students means doing everything possible to ensure our students are surrounded by trustworthy adults.” and “I want parents to have comfort that all of the adults in our schools will safeguard their children, and this is an important and necessary step toward rebuilding the faith and trust that our parents have in their school district.”
An article in the Chicago Times revealed a startling number of sexual abuse cases have been reported in Chicago schools. During a ten-year period, more than 500 cases of juvenile assault and abuse were investigated. According to the article: “Ineffective background checks exposed students to educators with criminal convictions and arrests for sex crimes against children. And the CPSD failed to disclose to other districts that past employees had resigned after investigators found credible evidence of abuse and harassment.”
Chicago residents were shocked to learn about this tragedy. This article helped prompt the CPSD to initiate an unprecedented round of background screenings for existing staff. The district is determined to demonstrate that they are actively taking steps to protect students who attend Chicago schools.
Who Will Be Screened?
According to a Press Release from the CPSD, every adult employee who works with students will be screened. This includes:
· Cafeteria Workers
· Other Staff
To provide an additional level of security and help restore faith in the school district, the following policies are also being implemented:
· All employees will be screened periodically to watch for new arrests or convictions.
· Everyone who wants to be involved in the school sports program, such as coaches and volunteers, will be put through a training and eligibility process first.
· The CPSD will create an inventory of all vendors, coaches and volunteers to help ensure that every person in each department has been screened and approved to work with students.
The Importance Of Annual Screenings
While not every business hires individuals who will work directly with young people, most businesses have employees who deal with clients, coworkers and the public. It is important for employers to take steps to promote a safe work environment and be able to demonstrate that they are performing due diligence during their hiring process. One of the most critical components is for employers to run background checks on all applicants and ongoing criminal monitoring on all employees.
Employers are encouraged to document their screening and hiring policies. This documentation should include details about what warrants denial of employment and termination. Having written policies will help employers show that they are taking reasonable precautions to promote safety.
If you need help with your initial and ongoing screening efforts, please contact us. The team at Backgrounds Online is highly trained at putting together ideal screening packages for any position in every industry. We are available via phone, chat or email Monday through Friday from 5am to 5pm PT.