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Concerned that school districts do not have clearly defined policies on child-abuse prevention, two national education groups have issued a set of proposed guidelines.

The statement by the National Association of State Boards of Education and the American Association of School Administrators recommends that abuse-prevention policies include a provision requiring that all job applicants be screened for prior convictions on abuse charges.

Such measures should also provide due process for teachers and other workers accused of child abuse, and should involve the maintenance and dissemination to other districts of information on workers with criminal records. The data, the groups say, should also be provided to the interstate teacher-certification clearinghouse.

"These are the kinds of things that most people don't think about until there is a problem," said Tim Callahan, a spokesman for nasbe.

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