An Oregon based news team learned that private schools are not required to run background checks on employees.
A School Investigation
KATU, a news source based in Oregon, conducted an investigation to find ways that parents can help keep their children safe at private schools and care facilities. This was prompted by a disturbing case in which a piano instructor was arrested for alleged sexual abuse to students. The teacher, who works for Let's Make Music and Dance Academy, was released after bail was posted.
The investigation revealed that private schools and academies in Oregon are not required to run background checks on potential employees.
Before a person can be hired to work at an Oregon public school, they must pass a background investigation. This includes a criminal records search that shows if the person was convicted of a violent or otherwise serious crime. The primary goal is to establish a safe environment for students, parents and people who work at these facilities.
Backgrounds Checks Encouraged
After releasing their findings, KATU called upon private schools and academies to start background screening all potential employees. This includes contractors, volunteers and anyone else who might work with or in proximity to students.
Members of the KATU team also interviewed an individual they referred to as a national expert on background checks. He told them parents should be aware that screenings are not legally required at private schools throughout the United States. Because of this, he recommended that parents ask about background screening policies before enrolling their children in any educational or care facility.
During their investigation, representatives from KATU spoke with Gil Fried, a professor at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, to get the perspective of an educator outside of Oregon. Fried told them: “Parents should make sure a private school has gone through the process of doing a complete background check of any new hire.” He also suggested that background reports should include criminal searches in every state and on a federal level. Fried further advocated that all school employees be re-screened annually to ensure they remain eligible to work with young people.
The case against the piano teacher is still pending. Until it is resolved, the instructor is not on active duty. He is, however, supported by his place of employment, which is run by his mother. She posted a statement on the company website that said the teacher was innocent and the “safety of your children always has been and will be our first priority.”
Ensuring Background Checks Are Comprehensive
As KATU learned, comprehensive background checks should be run on all candidates before job offers are made. This is especially imperative for individuals who would work with children, the elderly or any vulnerable populations. Every background check should feature a variety of criminal searches, including county, state, national and federal. They should also include searches on sex offender registries and terrorist watch list databases.
By running criminal searches, employers demonstrate they are performing due diligence to create a safe environment for everyone. This also helps the employer avoid unnecessary risk and builds trust in their brand.
If your business or organization is bringing on employees, contractors or volunteers, then you will need to run background checks. The team at Backgrounds Online is experienced at building screening packages that are perfectly tailored for any type of position in every industry. Contact us for assistance and to answer your questions Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.