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Should Teachers, Adoptive Parents Have to Submit Fingerprints for Background Checks?

Gov. Deval Patrick signed legislation that would require teachers, workers at child care centers and school bus drivers to submit fingerprints for criminal background checks.

Should school and child care employees fingerprinted before starting employment in order to check their criminal backgrounds? How about fingerprinting anyone who wants to adopt or foster a child?

The governor thinks so.

The state education office announced on Friday that Gov. Deval Patrick had signed a bill authorizing the Department of Early Education and Care and school districts to conduct fingerprint-supported national criminal history background checks on all teachers, school employees and early education providers in Massachusetts.  

"Prior to this law, school districts and early education providers were allowed only to conduct name-based Criminal Offender Record Information checks covering criminal history record information for crimes committed in Massachusetts," the press release said. "These CORI checks did not include any criminal history record information for crimes committed outside the Commonwealth."

The fingerprint background checks would also apply to everyone seeking to adopt children or become foster parents, as the legislation is written.

Fingerprints would be submitted to the Massachusetts State Police for a state criminal history check and forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history check, reported the Associated Press.

The state Legislature passed the bill at the end of December, weeks after John Burbine was arrested on charges he sexually abused children at his wife's unlicensed child care business in Wakefield.

Other cases that unfolded in the past year include a former Newton elementary school teacher who was sentenced to 45 years in prison on child pornography charges; a Taunton High School teacher accused of various sex crimes against underage teens; and 30-year-old allegations against a former Foxborough educator.

Massachusetts wouldn't be the first state to enact such a law. Oregon passed a similar law in 1993, and New York and Maine require fingerprinting of school teachers. Texas also has a fingerprint law for teachers, which led to a lawsuit against the Texas Education Agency by one teacher who asserted the law violated her First Amendment right to freedom of religion.

What do you think? Will the fingerprinting help keep kids safe, or is this a step too far? Tell us in the comments section below.

NaemhOisin January 14, 2013 at 12:31 PM
A person who thinks that mass murder was never committed without guns is a person ignorant of history...and of current events. My God. How this topic becomes a debate about guns is beyond me. It is a good thing to know if a daycare provider or a teacher has committed crimes against children in other parts of the country that has nothing to do with guns but more predatory. But seriously, if you think mass murder is not committed with weapons of savagery in this world, then you are extremely ignorant. If you have no problem forfeiting your rights that were won for you by the blood of the courageous, then go ahead in your cowardly deed but you do not speak for me who would die in defending those rights.
Troy O January 14, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Nobody said that "mass murder was never committed without guns." They said that it is made much easier to kill a lot people when you have a gun....which is true. Please send me every link you can find referencing a mass killing in the US that was committed with any weapon other than a gun. Then I will send you all the mass murders I can find in the US that were the direct result of a maniac with a gun. We have to get rid of the morons or the guns...and it is impossible to get rid of all the morons...so...... "Any person who doesn't think like me must be ignorant" is an argument made by people who can't back up their inane ramblings with facts. Who sounds ignorant now?
NaemhOisin January 14, 2013 at 10:36 PM
I was responding to johnny v's post that people dont go on murder sprees with knives-and merely pointing out that throughout history and in today's world that simply is not the case--now let me ask you this please-when you want to confiscate guns, does this also include guns belonging to criminals, like in boston for example-where gang-related murders take place almost weekly--or do you just want to disarm a law-abiding population? do you want to take a registered gun away from a woman living in fear for her life because her rapist is still on the streets and knows where she lives? the questions are endless when the knee-jerk reaction is just that and the unintended consequences are an after-thought.
Sean Price January 14, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Troy, here you go... http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~bauerle/disaster.htm
kerstin locherie January 17, 2013 at 09:11 AM
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them. Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits? Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes? You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does. You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does. You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does. You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does. One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country. I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

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