Teacher background checks: What you need to know

Teacher background checks: What you need to know

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - A Canal Fulton teacher accused of inappropriately touching a female student is now on paid administrative leave.

This wasn't the first time this teacher has been in trouble for something like this.

The male teacher and coach at Northwest High School has not been charged so Cleveland 19 News is not naming him.

In this latest case, the teacher's lawsuit at his past school was settled so it didn't show up on a background check.

Cleveland 19 News wanted to know what background checks for teachers in Ohio entail.

We found if you plan on teaching in Ohio, you won't get into a classroom without a background check first. Under Ohio law, teachers have to start by getting a background check with BCI -- the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

After that they must get screened by the FBI every five years.

If a teacher moves out of state but moves back, he or she has to undergo all of this again.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, private school teachers also need background checks in Ohio and they have to undergo FBI background checks every five years too.

But background checks aren't just for teachers. Substitutes take them too, and so do bus drivers and contractors working on school grounds.

As for volunteers, they are not required to submit to background checks by state law. But school districts can implement their own policies on this.

The background checks include fingerprinting. The fingerprints are stored in a database called a "RAP BACK" for the department of education to access. They receive a notification if someone licensed is arrested or convicted of an offense.

Then it is up to them to notify the local school district.

The state board can refuse to issue, suspend or revoke a license to a teacher for several reasons including:

  • Engaging in an immoral act, incompetence or negligence.
  • If a teacher pleads guilty or is found guilty of a felony, a violent offense, theft or drug abuse that is not a misdemeanor.

The Ohio Department of Education says it's the responsibility of educators at schools to make sure these rules are followed and background checks are up to date.

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