School districts would have to conduct comprehensive background checks on any employee with unsupervised access to students, under a bill approved last week by the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation would require districts to use state criminal and child-abuse registries and prevent them from hiring anyone who has been convicted of serious crimes against children.
The bill has broad, bipartisan support. It would likely need to be attached to the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
But the National Education Association wrote in a letter to lawmakers that the measure is “well intentioned” but could “run counter to existing state laws requiring background checks.”
A version of this article appeared in the October 30, 2013 edition of Education Week as U.S. House Approves Bill on Background Checks