Ohio school districts didn’t violate the law when they fired dozens of employees over long-ago criminal convictions, the state supreme court ruled last week.
In a 5-2 decision, the court said the 2007 state law that required school districts to dig deep into the criminal histories of employees and fire those convicted of certain offenses was constitutional.
The law was part of a broad crackdown on school employees spurred by a series in The Columbus Dispatch spotlighting the failures of Ohio’s teacher-discipline system. One provision required background checks of nonlicensed school employees going back decades. People who had been convicted of certain “nonrehabilitative” offenses were required to be dismissed.
Lawyers could not say how many people were fired under the law but estimated the number to be in the dozens. The law was changed in 2009 to give districts more discretion to retain people convicted of lesser offenses.
A version of this article appeared in the November 03, 2010 edition of Education Week as Court Upholds Schools’ Firing Of Workers for Old Crimes