In response to a series of teacher arrests in the past four weeks, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., public schools will do random criminal background checks on all employees next school year, says the Charlotte Observer. “Recent events have suggested that we need to increase our vigilance after the hiring process is complete, to protect the safety of our students and staff,” said Superintendent Peter Gorman.
Background checks are common when school employees are hired. State officials and the N.C. School Boards Association don’t know how many districts do random checks afterward. Not checking after people are hired leaves “a huge gap” when employees don’t report their own problems, says Kenneth Trump, an Ohio-based consultant on school safety. Few districts do regular record checks because of the cost and staff time, he said. Charlotte school officials are seeking a state law that would require police to notify school systems if their employees get arrested. Last week, an art teacher was arrested after an assistant principal reportedly found him in a locked classroom about to shoot up with heroin. Last month, a high school teacher was arrested and charged with drug possession.