Background Checks Now Required For New Jersey School Board Members

Robert Capwell

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Board of EducationNew Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed A-444 which requires any person elected or appointed to a board of education within the state to undergo a criminal background check within 30 days of being elected or appointed.  All current School Board members will also be required to undergo a background check within 30 days of the effective date of the new law, which is effective immediately.   Any school board member will be disqualified from serving if they have been convicted of the following criminal offenses:
 

 

  • Any crime of the first or second degree;
  • An offense involving the manufacture, transportation, sale, possession, distribution or habitual use of a controlled dangerous substance or “drug paraphernalia”;
  • A crime involving the use of force or the threat of force to or upon a person or property including, but not limited to, robbery, aggravated assault, stalking, kidnapping, arson, manslaughter and murder;
  • A third degree crime, or any of the following crimes: recklessly endangering another person; terroristic threats; criminal restraint; luring, enticing child into motor vehicle, structure or isolated area; causing or risking widespread injury or damage; criminal mischief; burglary; threats and other improper influence; perjury and false swearing; resisting arrest;
  • Any crime of the fourth degree involving a victim who is a minor; or conspiracy to commit or an attempt to commit any of the aforesaid crimes.

This new law also includes stiff penalties for Board Members when they take their oath of office as they must also declare that they are not disqualified from service due to a conviction of one of crimes listed above.  Any member who falsely swears that he/she is not disqualified could face penalties of up to 18 months in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Currently background checks for teachers working within New Jersey fall under the jurisdiction of the Criminal History Review Unit (CHRU) who is responsible for conducting criminal history background checks on employees in the public, private handicap, and nonpublic schools in New Jersey.  The criminal history record check process includes a fingerprint search of the applicant/employee by the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Employment Background Investigations, Inc. works with public and private schools in the development and administration of comprehensive background screening programs for teachers, staff members, service personnel, and volunteers.

EBI is committed to providing employers with valuable education, news and resources around background screening, drug testing, occupational healthcare and employment eligibility.  All content provided by EBI is published for the convenience of its readers and should never be deemed as legal guidance or advice.  Always consult your legal counsel for specific advice on local laws and industry regulations.

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Robert Capwell

Posted By: Robert Capwell

EBI’s Chief Knowledge Officer, Mr. Robert E. Capwell, is considered one of the leading experts in the background screening industry with over 22 years of experience in the field. Mr. Capwell was a contributing author of the second edition of the ASIS Pre-employment Background Screening Guidelines and has written numerous articles and whitepapers for various publications including a periodic column on background screening for The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Online. He has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Human Resource Executive Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, and several HR-related publications. Mr. Capwell speaks regularly to industry colleagues and HR Professionals both nationally and internationally.

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