School officials usually are in the dark when it comes to students’ criminal backgrounds, says the Courier News in Illinois. Law enforcement and judicial entities don’t release students’ juvenile records because of stringent laws regarding a minor’s right to privacy says Douglas Thomas of the National Center for Juvenile Justice in Pittsburgh. However, “if a juvenile has been adjudicated and is sentenced; then the sentencing order can be turned over to an education system that has him as a pupil,” said University of Illionois law Prof. Steve Beckett.
The issue came up when a 16-year-old boy was charged this month in the stabbing attack on an Elgin, Il., teacher in her classroom. He suspect had been charged last summer with assaulting an 8-year-old girl in her home and with attempting to abduct a girl, 13. The school district was not informed by law enforcement officials before the teacher killing that he was a suspect in the sexual assault or attempted abduction.