Attorney General: School districts must improve background checks

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Attorney General Josh Shapiro said a recent investigation revealed that local districts may not be following the law of maintaining criminal history background checks from the statewide child abuse database.

School districts are required to obtain a clearance from the statewide child abuse database as mandated by state law. They are also required to consult state police and the FBI for criminal history information on all school employees and volunteers.

“In the course of a criminal investigation, we learned that some public schools in Pennsylvania may not be properly checking the statewide child abuse database and maintaining records for every employee,” Shapiro said. “The law requires that school districts check and keep these records because we need them to help keep children safe.”

Shapiro said that the findings were shared with every district as a warning call. Every district in the state is required to maintain this information without exception.

“Exceptions to this requirement should not be made for anyone – police officers, judges, attorneys, doctors, elected officials, clergy or anyone who serves in a position of authority or trust are not entitled to special exception. The law applies to everyone equally,” Shapiro said.

Shapiro said that any employee or volunteer within Pennsylvania schools must submit the appropriate clearances regardless of education, training or background.

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