Background Checks and Employment
Approved Revision: 5-12-10
The South Sanpete Board of Education recognizes that people who staff the school system are discharging a public trust of great significance; consequently, the Board is committed to provide a safe school environment for the students by employing exemplary role models. To protect the health and safety of all students, and in compliance with state law, a criminal background check shall be required of all potential employees or volunteers who will be given significant, unsupervised access to students in connection with their assignment. The potential employee or volunteer and all current employees shall satisfactorily pass criminal background checks as a condition for employment.
- Licensed Educator:
Employees who hold a valid Utah Educator License and have satisfied all requirements to be a Licensed Educator in the Utah Public School System: teachers, administrators, counselors, etc. Licensed Educators may also include individuals who are student teaching, who are in the Alternative Route to Licensure, or positions and individuals who hold District-specific licenses.
- Non- Licensed Employee:
School/District employees who hold part-time or full-time positions that do not require a valid Utah Educator License: secretaries, cooks, custodians, para educators, bus drivers, substitute positions, volunteers, etc.
- Plea in Abeyance:
When a defendant enters in a temporary guilty plea, the defendant then fulfills certain obligations set by the court, e.g., pays a fine, does community service, etc. Once the obligations are fulfilled, the charges are dropped, and the guilty plea is wiped from the record.
- Diversion Agreement:
An agreement entered into between the prosecutor and the defendant. It sets forth specific terms and conditions that must be approved by a judge. Upon completion of the terms of the Diversion Agreement, the charge(s) will be dismissed.
- Personal Identifying Information:
This is defined as an individual’s current name, former names, nicknames and aliases; date of birth; address; telephone number; driver license number or other government-issued identification number; Social Security number; and fingerprints.
- The Utah Code (53A-3-410) provides that a school district superintendent or designee shall require a potential employee or volunteer who will have significant unsupervised access to a student in connection with their assignment to submit to a finger-print (scan) criminal background check as a condition for continued employment or consideration for new employment. In addition, where reasonable cause exists, an existing employee or volunteer may be required to submit to a criminal background check.
- All employees, licensed and non-licensed, seeking employment with the District shall complete an application and sign a written release, waiver, and authorization which authorizes the District to conduct a background check and request information from the prospective employee’s past employers and supervisors. Convictions which are job-related, felonies and other serious convictions as determined by the District, State, and this Policy shall be considered in the review and hiring process. It is the District’s Policy that false information discovered on an employee’s application shall be grounds for rejecting an application with no further consideration for employment. In addition, if false information is discovered after hire or through the background check, that person shall be subject to immediate termination for cause and/or criminal prosecution.
- All prospective, new, and current employees (licensed or non-licensed) are financially responsible for the costs associated with a background check.
- Current Licensed Educators must have a background check each time a teaching license is renewed. The background check and license renewal are required by State Law and are a condition of continued employment in the District.
- Current non-licensed employees shall submit to a criminal background check once every six years, or more frequently, based upon the employee’s assignment. The District shall determine a procedural method to meet the six-year requirement and also maintain a record of these background checks. The District shall provide a written request to the employee before a background check takes place. Background checks are required by State Law and are a condition of continued employment in the District.
- When reasonable cause exists, an existing employee (licensed or non-licensed) may be subject to a background check after receiving written notice from District administration.
- A company or organization, having established an arrangement with the District to provide unsupervised services to a student (or students) of the District with an individual, employee, agent, and/or representative of said company or organization, must assure the District that an acceptable criminal background check has been completed for the individual, employee, agent, and/or representative. Failure to comply with this provision or information obtained through a criminal background check that is deemed unacceptable to the District, will be basis for termination of the arrangement with the company, individuals or organization. The District has the right of access to inspect or review the results of criminal background checks for individuals in such companies or organizations.
- Information obtained from a background check is confidential within the guidelines of the Government Records and Access Management Act (GRAMA).
- Some criminal violations may automatically eliminate applicants and volunteers from positions in Public Education due to State Law and/or specific violations determined by the Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission (UPPAC) contained in Utah Code 53A-6-301 through 307, Utah Code 53A-3-410, and Utah Administrative Code R686-100 through 104.
Reporting of Arrests and Convictions:
1. An employee (licensed or non-licensed) who is arrested for the following alleged offenses shall report the arrest within 48 hours or as soon as possible to the District’s Superintendent or designee for:
A. Any matters involving arrests for alleged sex offenses;
B. Any matters involving arrests for alleged drug-related offenses;
C. Any matters involving arrests for alleged alcohol-related offenses;
E. Any matters involving arrests for alleged assault offenses against a person found in Utah Code 76-5-102 through 76-5-413;
F. Any matters involving arrests for alleged crime classified as a felony; and
G. In addition, an employee shall report convictions, including a Plea in Abeyance and Diversion Agreements, within 48 hours or as soon as possible upon receipt of notice of the conviction, Plea in Abeyance, or Diversion Agreement.
2. After receiving the arrest notification/information from the employee, the Superintendent or designee shall review this information, assess the employment status in regards to the employee’s assignment, determine if he/she should report to work, and decide upon appropriate disciplinary action, up to, and including, termination. An employee shall be immediately suspended from student supervision responsibilities for alleged sex offenses and other alleged offenses that may endanger students during the period of investigation. An employee shall be immediately suspended from any duties that require the employee to transport students or operate or maintain a District vehicle for alleged offenses involving drugs or alcohol during the period of the investigation.
3. If an employee fails to report any arrest or conviction pursuant to this Policy to the Superintendent, he/she may be subject to the following disciplinary action: verbal warning, written reprimand, suspension, and/or termination.
4. The Superintendent or designee shall report the conviction, arrest or offense information received to the Utah State Office of Education within 48 hours of receipt of information from the employee.
5. Documents and records related to an employee’s arrest and/or conviction, Plea in Abeyance, or Diversion Agreements, as well as final administrative determinations and actions following the investigation, shall be maintained for a minimum of two years following termination of employment with the District and require protection of confidential employment information.
Timelines for Criminal Offenses:
As a general rule, subject to the specific nature and severity of the offense(s), the applicant, Licensed Educator, non-licensed employee, contractor, or volunteer may be deemed ineligible to work or provide service to the District if the individual is identified as having committed any of the following offenses within the designated timelines:
1. An offense against a minor within the past ten years.
2. A sexual offense within the past ten years.
3. Any matter involving a felony within the past ten years.
4. Any matters involving arrests for alleged assault offenses against other persons within the past ten years
5. A drug-related offense within the past five years.
6. An alcohol-related offense within the past three years.
7. Any other offense that is deemed relevant to the subject’s assignment within the past five years.
8. Any recurring matters involving any other type of criminal offense, especially if more than one occurrence of the same type of offense is alleged to have taken place within the previous ten years.
9. The Board reserves the right to extend the timelines of these offenses based on the seriousness of the offense(s) and certain jobs requiring higher standards. The Board may also include other offenses if they are deemed job-related or a
concern for children’s safety and District liability.
10. The Utah Professional Practices Advisory Committee (UPPAC) makes the final determination with regards to penalties and timelines in suspending and revoking teaching licenses in regards to improper conduct by educators.
If the District denies an individual employment or terminates an employee because of information obtained through a background check, the individual or employee shall be given written notice of the reasons for denial or dismissal. An individual disqualified by the District as a result of a background check may request a review of the information received by the District through the background check and of the reasons for the disqualification and may respond to the information and the reasons for disqualification. The District shall, consistent with the requirements of Utah Code § 53-10-108, allow the individual to review the criminal history information received by the District.
Utah Code § 53A-15-1506(1)(a), (b) (2015)
The individual or employee shall be extended an opportunity to respond to the allegations by submitting a written appeal within ten working days of the District’s action. The appeal may consist of one or more of the following:
1. A letter explaining the circumstances of the offense/conviction,
2. The police report,
3. The court report, and
4. Other pertinent information as warranted.
Utah Code 53A-3-410, Utah Code § 53A-15-1503(1)(a)(b)(c) (2016) :Utah Code § 53-10-108(13)(b)(ii) (2015)
- Utah Administrative Code R277-520-11 and R277-516
- District Policy GCC “Professional Staff Recruiting and Hiring”
- H.B.81 “School Employee Criminal Background Check” 2010 General Session