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Law Requires Background Checks on Anyone Working School Grounds

By: Victoria Langley
By: Victoria Langley

School districts around Florida scramble to get ready for a new law requiring them to run background checks on anyone who works on school grounds. Some are wondering who will foot the bill.

The law is part of the Jessica Lunsford Act to keep students safer from sexual predators. Schools are wondering who’s going to foot the bill.

School Board attorneys are meeting with law enforcement and state officials later this month to figure out how to follow the new law.

School officials are hoping once a person undergoes the background checks, it will be good at schools statewide.

Joe Roache is enjoying a summer morning with his two grandsons. Their safety is important to him, and he supports a new law that will ensure anyone working at a school around students will have to undergo background checks.

Joe Roache, a grandfather, says, “Having people fingerprinted wouldn’t hurt and it would give people an idea of where the people who are working on the campus and the volunteers are coming from.”

The problem for school districts is who’s going to pay for it? Fingerprinting can run $60 to $80 or more a person, and you’re talking potentially hundreds of thousands of contractors, vendors and volunteers.

Right now no one seems to have a definitive answer on who will cover the cost.

David Mosrie of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents says he wholeheartedly supports the effort to keep kids safer, but he’s worried about a multi-million dollar price tag.

David says, “The logical choice is the individual will pay for it, but we’ve been told by some of the contractors that they will pass that cost along to school districts. Obviously they’re not going to absorb that cost, so in the end, I think school districts are going to end up paying for it.

It’s money many if not most school districts just don’t have, but parents and grandparents say anything that helps protect precious lives is worth the cost.

School Board attorneys are meeting with law enforcement and state officials later this month to figure out how to follow the new law.


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