Oregon school districts need only a $5 criminal background check to hire non-teaching employees, including coaches and activity advisers, reports The Oregonian. Charges against a high school cheerleading coach show loopholes in the screening process to ferret out those who may pose a danger to children. Across the country, states are mandating federal background checks for workers who come in contact with children and lengthening the list of crimes that put potential employees in the no-hire category. In Oregon, background checks remain spotty and short on specifics.
A background check showed that the cheerleading coach had been convicted of misdemeanor assault, felony embezzlement, and a felony probation violation, yet those crimes aren’t severe enough to put him on the no-hire list. Other states have passed laws requiring widespread fingerprinting and federal checks for all adults on school campuses. “Oregon’s restrictions are minimal restrictions,” said a school public safety officer. “The laws in place aren’t very strict for the people they allow in the classroom. Oregon could improve the situation by allowing institutions to see exactly what the charges are instead of just saying there are charges out there.”