Complying With the Jessica Lunsford Act

Many school districts aren’t fully complying. They’re having trouble getting the hundreds of thousands of contractors and vendors fingerprinted 15 school districts around Florida are now using a special software program that does an automatic background check to make sure people coming on campus are not sex offenders.

The equipment uses your name, driver’s license or state ID number and runs it against databases of registered sex offenders.

Principal Rocky Hanna’s high school uses the system to check out all school visitors.

Rocky Hanna says, "We need to do a good job of monitoring who exactly is coming on our campus, why they’re here and what their background is, because there’s lots of room on this property for kids to be lured into situations that could be dangerous for them."

The background check takes just minutes you hand over your state ID, the software scans it and prints you out a badge with your name and picture on it.

But the new software does not satisfy the Jessica Lunsford Act requiring fingerprinting of vendors and contractors doing business on school grounds, at a cost of millions of dollars.
The state Builders and Contractors Association says the law’s proving way too expensive and hard to implement.

Gary Stout with Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida says, "Each county has their own set of interpretations. There’s no uniform interpretation across the state, smaller counties are actually ignoring the requirement."

Lawmakers will likely be tweaking the Lunsford Act in the coming session to make it more manageable for school districts.

In the meantime, more and more schools are using new technology to run their own background checks. To try the Raptor background check software, it costs school districts
$1,500 per school with an annual fee of $432.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Web site has a detailed explanation of what the Jessica Lunsford Act requires.