Background Checks

Purpose and Philosophy

The District is responsible to protect the health and safety of all students and employees. To help meet this responsibility, the District requires a criminal background check pursuant to Utah state laws, rules, and regulations, and in accordance with this policy. All prospective and current employees and volunteers with significant unsupervised access to students shall submit to fingerprint background checks as a condition of employment or service.

Definitions

Licensed Educators or Licensed Employees are individuals who hold a valid Utah educator license and have satisfied all requirements to be a Licensed Educator in the Utah public school system or who is on a Letter of Authorization from the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) (i.e., school teachers, school administrators, psychologists, counselors, specialists, licensed substitute teachers, etc.). Licensed Educators may or may not be employed in a position that requires an educator license. Licensed Educators include individuals who are student teaching, who are involved in the alternative routes to licensure program, who are on letters of authorization, who hold conditional licenses, and individuals who hold District specific licenses.
Non-Licensed Employees are all other employees of the District, except “Licensed Employees.” Non-Licensed Employees include, but are not limited to, the Education Support Professionals in the District. Non-Licensed substitute teachers are included in this category.
Criminal History Report is a document generated by the Bureau of Criminal Identification after a search of the State of Utah s criminal history files and/or other state and federal databases designated by applicable law or by the District.
Background Check means information on an applicant or employee that may include, but is not limited to, Criminal History Reports and Driving Record Reports.
Driving Record Report means information on an applicant or employee that may include, but is not limited to, traffic-related offenses contained in the Utah Division of Motor Vehicle databases.
Job-Related Conviction means any conviction that directly relates to the duties of the employee including, but not limited to, convictions that:

  • may reduce employee credibility.
  • may put students in an unsafe or at-risk environment.
  • may undermine stakeholder confidence in the public school system in general Utah Code Annotated §53A-3-410(5).

Prospective Employee means an individual who is selected as the “successful applicant” for a particular job position in the District including but not limited to, licensed employees, non-licensed employees, substitutes, coaches, and volunteers.
Volunteer means any person who is not an employee of the District who will be given significant unsupervised access to a student in connection with his/her assignment.

Employment Screening

Utah law requires background checks on all prospective employees, substitutes, coaches, and volunteers who have significant unsupervised access to students. Accordingly, the District requires each prospective employee or volunteer who will be given significant unsupervised access to students as part of his/her assignment to submit to a background check prior to employment or service in the District. Utah Code Annotated, §53A-3-410.
As a condition of continued employment or service, Utah Code requires current employees and volunteers with significant unsupervised access to students to submit to periodic background checks. Licensed employees must submit to a fingerprint background check as a condition of initial licensure and as part of each license renewal. Said background check shall occur prior June 30 of the year of license expiration. Non-licensed employees and volunteers with significant unsupervised access to students shall submit to a fingerprint criminal background checks at least every six (6) years during their employment or service. The District does not require a background check for student employees under the age of eighteen (18).
Prospective or current employees and volunteers who drive District vehicles or who have driving as an essential job function must also submit an official Driving Record Report as a condition of employment. The District shall update driving records every six (6) months for Bus Drivers and at least one (1) time per year for any employees or volunteer for whom driving is an essential job function.
All prospective and current employees and volunteers with significant unsupervised access to students will be screened using the full-scale nationwide criminal background database.
The District shall resolve any requests for review by prospective or current employees or volunteers with significant unsupervised access to students through applicable administrative procedures established by the District.

Review of Information and Determination of Suitability to Work in the District

A criminal conviction does not necessarily preclude employment or the opportunity to volunteer with the District. Upon receipt of the background check results, the District shall determine what, if any action is warranted. The District has the sole and absolute discretion to determine whether the outcome of a criminal background check or driving record check is satisfactory. The safety and security of District students will be the foremost consideration. District Human Resources personnel consider each circumstance on a case-by-case basis and use the following factors to determine an applicant, current employee, or volunteer s suitability to work in the District in accordance with Utah Code, Utah Administrative Rule, and District policy: (Utah Code Annotated §53A-6-501, Utah Administrative Code R277-515)

  1. Type of conviction.
  2. Relevance of conviction to the individual s position.
  3. A history of multiple convictions that suggests a pattern of criminal behavior or bad judgment.
  4. Frequency and severity of the crime(s).
  5. Age of the individual at the time the crime was committed.
  6. Length of time since the conviction.
  7. Evidence of rehabilitation.
  8. Disposition of charges.

The District shall consider only those convictions that are job-related. The prospective or current employee or volunteer with significant unsupervised access to students shall have opportunity to respond to any information received as a result of the background check.
An employee or volunteer with significant unsupervised access to students who is under investigation for alleged sex offense or other alleged offenses that may endanger students shall be immediately suspended from student supervision responsibilities.
An employee or volunteer with significant unsupervised access to students who is under investigation for alleged drug or alcohol offenses shall be immediately suspended from transporting students or driving District vehicles.
If a current employee or volunteer with significant unsupervised access to students is dismissed from employment or if a prospective employee is denied employment because of information obtained through a background check, the person shall receive written notice of the reasons for dismissal and have an opportunity to respond to the reasons for the dismissal.
Unless otherwise directed, employees or volunteer with significant unsupervised access to students under investigation as a result of a background check, shall report for work.

Fees

Prospective employees, licensed and/or non-licensed, shall pay the cost of the background check.
Current Licensed employees shall pay the cost of the background check as part of their periodic license renewal fees.
The District will bear the cost of the background check for current non-licensed employees and volunteers with significant unsupervised access to students.
The fee for the background check will be set by the District but will not be less than the actual cost to the District of the background check.

Employee Reporting of Arrests and Convictions

As a condition of continued employment or volunteer service, all employees and volunteers with significant unsupervised access to students must notify the Director of Human Resources within forty-eight (48) hours or as soon as possible if they are arrested, charged, or convicted; entered a guilty plea, a plea in abeyance, or diversion agreement; or are otherwise found guilty of the following crimes, regardless of the imposition of sentence:

  1. Any matters involving arrests for alleged sex offenses.
  2. Any matters involving arrests for alleged drug-related offenses.
  3. Any matters involving arrests for alleged alcohol-related offenses.
  4. Any matters involving arrests for alleged offenses against the person as outlined in state statute. This includes, but is not limited to, crimes where a person has assaulted, harassed, abused, neglected, exploited, endangered, kidnapped, murdered, trafficked, raped, sexually assaulted, etc. another person(s) Utah Code Annotated, §76-5; and
  5. Any matters relating to arrests for violations of the vehicle code for employees who drive District vehicles as part of the employment duties.

Supervisors should notify Human Resources immediately if any employee or volunteer with significant unsupervised access to students informs them of any of the matters listed in 3.1.5.a.

District Reporting of Arrests and Convictions

The Superintendent, or his/her designee shall report arrests, convictions, or other offense information regarding Licensed Educators to the Educator Quality and Licensing Department of the Utah State Office of Education within forty-eight (48) hours of receipt of such information.

The District shall cooperate with the Utah Office of Education in investigation of Licensed Employees.

Consequences

Prospective employees or volunteers with significant unsupervised access to students are subject to non-selection based on:

  • Results of a background check.
  • Refusal to submit to a background check; and/or
  • Failure to disclose information relevant to the background check if requested to do so during the application and selection process.

Current employees or volunteers with significant unsupervised access to students are subject to discipline, up to and including termination based on:

  • Results of a background check.
  • Refusal to submit to a background check; and/or
  • Failure to report arrests and convictions as outlined in this policy.

The District shall exclude any person from employment or from volunteering or shall take action to terminate employment or volunteer assignment when a background check reveals that an individual has exhibited behavior that is violent or harmful to children or adults

Confidentiality

An applicant, employee or volunteer background checks report and additional information received regarding a background check are confidential. The District will use this information only for the District’s internal purposes when determining the suitability for employment or service of an applicant ,employee, or volunteer. The District will keep this information in a secure location that is accessible only to persons who are authorized to have access to the information in order to complete their employment duties.

Record Storage and Retention

Records of arrests, convictions, determinations, and administrative actions for job-related offenses shall be placed in the employee’s Personnel File. Volunteer records will be held separately. Such records will be maintained only as necessary to protect the safety of students and/or employees and will be retained in accordance with state record retention guidelines.