DC Public School Employees Need Current Background Checks​

January 14, 2020
An internal audit revealed that nearly one-third of DC public school employees do not have current background checks on file.
Backgrounds Online | January 14, 2020

An internal audit revealed that nearly one-third of DC public school employees do not have current background checks on file.

Background Screening Policies Investigated

An internal investigation was conducted to determine if the background screening practices for DC schools were on par with the district’s written policies. Chancellor Lewis Ferebee oversaw this effort. This investigation was prompted by an unsettling accusation about an employee having inappropriate contact with a 13-year-old student.

Many of the employees at DC schools were hired via a private company called Springboard Education. They were responsible for bringing on workers at eight campuses in the district. Chancellor Ferebee learned that Springboard Education was not consistently running background checks on individuals who were authorized to work at schools. Their services were terminated.

Almost One-Third Of The Staff Didn’t Have Current Background Checks

Following his investigation, the Chancellor revealed that a startling number of public school employees had outdated background checks. He wrote a statement that was shared with the DC public schools community. It read: “As a result of our district’s review, we determined that 31 percent of current DCPS staff members have a clearance that has expired.”

Ferebee clarified that all school employees are required to authorize and pass a background check before being cleared to work on any campus. District policy also stipulates that each employee must go through a follow-up background screening every two years to maintain their security clearance. The district agreed to take immediate action.

New Background Screenings Ordered

Every current DC school employee will be required to authorize a new background check before they may return to work for the 2020 school year. Additional steps are being taken to help ensure each employee is scheduled for ongoing screenings.

Ferebee addressed expectations for the new background screening requirements. He said: “By the first day of school, 100 percent of DC Public Schools (DCPS) afterschool staff and outside providers will have an active clearance. By the end of September, 100 percent of DCPS school staff members will have an active clearance. By the end of October, 100 percent of DCPS central office staff will have an active clearance.”

The Importance Of Ongoing Screenings

Most employers are diligent about running background checks before bringing on employees, contractors or volunteers. However, it is equally important for organizations to re-screen everyone who represents them. This is done to ensure each person remains eligible for ongoing employment and that they do not pose any undue risk.

Ongoing screenings show employers if someone who represents their brand incurs a new criminal record. They can also provide other useful facts such as whether or not a person maintains a required license, has new traffic violations (particularly for individuals who drive on the job) or gets any other new item on their record about which the employer should be aware.

Employers can schedule follow-up background checks at regular intervals. Many choose to re-screen annually, but it can also be done monthly or at whatever point the organization deems necessary. Recurring background check packages can be fully customized for every position in any industry.

If you need background checks for potential employees or people who are currently part of your staff, please contact us. We can help you build customized background screening packages that are perfectly tailored to your specific needs. Our team is available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.