Back­ground checks only start of process

School sys­tem dis­cusses vet­ting new hires, in­ves­ti­gat­ing em­ploy­ees

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com

At a re­cent in­for­ma­tion night at Benjamin Stod­dert Mid­dle School, some at­ten­dees asked how a for­mer in­struc­tional as­sis­tant now charged with 119 counts re­lated to child sex­ual abuse could have been al­lowed near chil­dren.

Dur­ing a press con­fer­ence fol­low­ing the ar­rest of Car­los Dean­gelo Bell, 30, of Wal­dorf, school of­fi­cials said Bell passed an ex­ten­sive back­ground check, and Charles County Sher­iff Troy Berry (D)

said it did not ap­pear Bell had a crim­i­nal record.

All em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing sub­sti­tute and tem­po­rary em­ploy­ees, must be fin­ger­printed, and the fin­ger­prints are sub­mit­ted to the Crim­i­nal Jus­tice In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem, or CJIS, which searches both Mary­land and FBI data­bases, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from the school sys­tem.

The school sys­tem also

makes a Child Protective Ser­vices back­ground clear­ance re­quest, which alerts CCPS to any child abuse find­ings re­gard­ing prospec­tive em­ploy­ees.

Charles County Pub­lic Schools typ­i­cally re­ceives the re­port within three to five busi­ness days. The re­port in­cludes both felony and mis­de­meanor con­vic­tions and prior charges or cases that did not lead to a con­vic­tion but would not in­clude civil cases, said CCPS spokes­woman Katie O’Mal­ley-Simp­son.

“If it’s on their record, we would re­ceive that,” O’Mal­ley-Simp­son said. “Un­less they get it ex­punged from their record, it’s still there.”

When a “re­portable in­ci­dent” is found, the Of­fice of Hu­man Re­sources de­ter­mines whether that in­ci­dent dis­qual­i­fies some­one from em­ploy­ment, O’Mal­ley-Simp­son said.

“It re­ally would de­pend on the charges, the cir­cum­stances around it; we look at ev­ery­thing in­di­vid­u­ally,” O’Mal­ley-Simp­son said.

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