Thursday, July 10, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Toomey backs bill for expanded background checks

BERWYN Most states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, require teachers and others who have contact with children to undergo a background check for criminal convictions before hiring.

But the checks often stop after an employee has been hired. And there's nothing to require schools to notify police if a convicted predator applies for a job, or to prevent them from helping an employee who has engaged in sexual misconduct with a student to transfer or get another teaching job.

Closing those loopholes is important, Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) said Friday in Berwyn.

"It surprised me when I discovered this wasn't already the law," Toomey said at a news conference at the Upper Main Line YMCA to promote a bill he sponsored to address the gaps. "I think we should be checking to make sure the people being hired in schools aren't violent sexual predators."

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  • The Protecting Students From Sexual and Violent Predators Act passed the House on Oct. 22. It has support from a number of organizations, including the National Federation of Teachers and the Pennsylvania Association of School Boards. - Kathy Boccella

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