After a Chicago resident was employed by the Lyons School District, it was revealed he had pending charges for allegedly shooting someone seven times.
A Chicago-based school was considering six candidates for a teaching position. Each person was evaluated and a man named Andres Rodriguez was selected. After he was brought on, the Chicago Times ran an article that questioned the district’s decision.
According to the article, Andres is facing a pending murder charge. He allegedly shot and killed a man during a traffic dispute. The author suggested that Andres should not have been placed in a teaching position. After the article was published, the district reportedly let Andres go.
Was He Background Screened?
Before offering Andres the job, the district ran a fingerprint-based background check. It did not return any information about the murder charge. This data was omitted because the case is still pending. A fingerprint report only includes details about convictions.
The Lyons School District automatically excludes candidates who have certain types of convictions. This includes sexual assaults, drug charges and violent felonies. Job seekers can also be rejected if they have violent pending charges. When the district selected Andres, they were presumably unaware of the case against him.
Limitations Of Fingerprint Checks
While fingerprint-based background checks can return pertinent information, they do not contain details about pending charges. If they did, then the Chicago school district would have seen that Andres stood accused of attempted murder. This would likely have been a major factor in their decision.
Fingerprint-based reports do not provide some essential components that can be found in a comprehensive background check. This includes employment verifications and references. A Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA), such as Backgrounds Online, can conduct interviews with previous employers, professional references and others to display a deeper picture of the candidate. CRAs can also provide details about pending felony charges, a person’s educational history and other data that can be used for employment-related decisions.
When he applied for a job with Lyons School District, Andres had reportedly been let go from two previous positions. Both were said to be due to alleged criminal activities. Andres had been named in a criminal stalking case. His lawyer was able to get those charges dropped and avoid a conviction.
Andres provided five references when he applied for the teaching position in Chicago. Among them was the lawyer who helped with his earlier charges. During the hiring process, Principal Don Jones contacted three of those references. Whether or not the lawyer was among them, or any of the allegations against Andres were discussed, remains unknown.
Reaction To The Hire
A member of the district’s board of education spoke out against this hire. He stated: “They failed to do the minimum. If I’m getting a job for anything…that company has to trust me, so they have to call me and call the previous places of employment.”
When filling out his application, Andres indicated that he had never “failed to be rehired, been asked to resign a position, resigned to avoid termination, or terminated from employment.” Had the Lyons School District used the services of a CRA to follow-up on Andres’ previous employers, they could have learned one had recommended he be terminated and made ineligible for re-hire.
Parents and students in that Chicago community were appalled to learn about this hire. The situation received so much attention that it was addressed by Chicago State Senator Martin Sandoval. Based on this case, the Senator is creating a proposal to strengthen background screening policies for school districts. The proposed legislation is said to include: “changes to background checks and language that will allow the agency to temporarily suspend a license before a conviction is made.”
Establishing Comprehensive Background Check Policies
Hiring someone who has a violent criminal history or is facing pending charges for a serious crime can have a damaging affect. It can cause the public to stop trusting your brand and lead to embarrassing situations for your business or organization.
When hiring employees, contractors or volunteers, it is essential to run a background check. This can include a variety of criminal records checks by county, state and nation; employment verifications; reference checks and more.
If you need assistance putting together background screening packages that will help you make informed decisions, show you are performing due diligence and demonstrate that you are taking steps to protect people who rely on you, then please contact us. Our team is ready to assist with all of your background screening needs Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.