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General Assembly Considers Fingerprinting For Teachers

A bill in the legislature would require schools to check potential hires using the FBI fingerprinting database.fli

fingerprint

Photo: Exercise Tradewinds 2009

A Naval Criminal Investigative Service special agent fingerprints a Woodcock Primary School student, to include in her identification kit.

A bill in the Indiana General Assembly would change that by requiring schools to screen potential employees using the FBI fingerprint database rather than traditional background checks.

School corporations typically contract background check companies to make sure candidates’ records are clean.

Safe Hiring Solutions CEO Mike McCarty says the fingerprinting is only offered through the state police, and that means schools will no longer be coming to him for business.

“There’s probably four or five companies in Indiana that do background checks for schools,” he says. “Private companies do about 90 percent of background checks for schools here in the state, and it would exclude all of us and force them to go back to the state.”

But Senator Thomas Wyss, one of the bill’s sponsors, says the bottom line is student safety.

“I don’t want that kind of an opportunity for someone to be in there that is not the person they say they are, and they create something havoc on our kids,” Wyss says. “We want to know who that person is.”

Wyss says the fingerprinting method is a more sure method than background checks. Opponents of the measure counter the FBI database doesn’t include everyone who has committed a crime.

If the law were passed, it would go into effect July 1.

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