The Edmond Sun

December 4, 2013

Edmond district checking employees for criminal misdeeds

10 percent of staff comes under scrutiny each year

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Edmond Board of Education members voted to accept the single reading of changes for two board policies, both dealing with school employees.

Executive Director of Human Resources Randy Decker presented board members with Policy #2240, Criminal Record Questionnaire, Employee Annual and Policy #2120 dealing with Benefits, Administrator and Professional Non-Bargaining Employees at Monday’s regular monthly meeting.

Decker told board members Policy #2240 deals with a criminal record check initiated in order to be sure nothing shows up as an offense on the record of administrators, teachers and support personnel.

“Each year 10 percent or between 250 and 270 of the district employees are pulled for a background check, ” Decker said. “The check is a random sampling done on all employees to make sure no school employees have committed a crime in the previous year. The program we use pulls up any criminal history record.”  

Decker said Paula Eastham, the district’s systems analyst, runs the program, which randomly pulls the names to be checked.

“The program does not cost the district anything, because it is within the technology capabilities of the IT department,” Decker said.

“Paula creates an access file that randomly assigns a number to each employee. It is not alphabetical. Basically, teachers with the numbers assigned from 1-270 will be pulled.”

The state requires a more expensive OSBI fingerprint check, Decker said.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education website, the cost for fingerprinting is $59 for both the required OSBI and FBI reports, which is paid for by the employee.  

“The Policy #2240 allows us to do a name, birthday and Social Security check,” Decker said. “We want to ensure our employees have not had any criminal activity during their employment with us.”

Decker added the district wants to assure the public that district officials are monitoring the people who are working with the students.

“Actually we do this in four ways,” Decker said. “First, new employees have a background fingerprint check through the Oklahoma State Department of Education upon being certified.

“Secondly, we do a check on 10 percent of our existing district employees.

“Thirdly, all employees sign a criminal record questionnaire each year that asks if they have been arrested in the last 365 days which resulted in entering a plea of guilty to a felony offense or had a felony offense reduced to a misdemeanor or if they have been arrested for possession of an illegal substance or illegal sexual activity or if they have entered into a deferred prosecution by a federal prosecutor.  

“One more piece helps ensure the safety of students is that school districts do a name search on all employees checking against state violent and sex offender registries every year.”

Decker said the safety of students is of the utmost importance to district administration.

The effect of additional wording to Policy #2120 simply adds to formal policy what has taken place in practice, and to assure the accrual of Professional Non-Bargaining employees’ benefits is consistent with those extended to support employees, he said.