Background Checks Ramp Up As School Approaches

By: Matt Galka Email
By: Matt Galka Email

By Matt Galka
August 12, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - The Tallahassee Police department made an arrest on former Jackson County teacher and athletics coach Joseph Collins on Thursday, August 8th. If convicted of attempting to solicit sex acts from a minor, Collins won't be working as a teacher again.

"We would not hire anyone with a criminal background that includes sex offenses," said Chris Petley with Leon County Schools communications office.

As the first day of school approaches, the Leon County school systems ID office starts to buzz while they check out new hires.

The background checks begin with a fingerprint analysis and end with a photo ID picture. The information collected is then sent off to both the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the F.B.I.

Leon County Schools does a level II background check, which looks into records at the state and national level. An applicant won't be hired if they have a record that includes sex offenses, selling drugs, or violent crimes involving weapons. There are also measures in place for after employees are hired.

"Our system will PING us in the state of Florida if one of our employees is arrested for any offense," said Petley.

The background checks are state law. A school board committee can review a potential employee whose background check contains lesser offenses.

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