Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm has signed a bill that will keep the names of public and private school employees who have minor, nonviolent criminal records out of the public eye.
Legislators wrote the bill to address privacy and accuracy concerns that surfaced earlier this year when criminal-background checks on more than 200,000 public school employees across Michigan turned out to be riddled with mistakes. (“Mich. Sex-Offender Law Has Educators in Uproar,” Feb. 15, 2006)
The new law also gives school district administrators up to six weeks to verify the accuracy of criminal-background checks of employees convicted of serious crimes before releasing their names to the public and to the media. Under the measure, districts can release the names of employees who are convicted felons or whose misdemeanors involve sex or violence.
Lawmakers said the measure would help ensure that innocent employees are not misidentified as criminals, as dozens were earlier this year.
A version of this article appeared in the April 12, 2006 edition of Education Week