CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - We are learning some school districts in our area do not fingerprint their employees while conducting background checks.
Union County Public Schools and Cabarrus County Schools say there is no policy on the books to say they have to fingerprint employees - that’s why they don’t. Some parents are disappointed to learn teachers in Union County are not getting fingerprinted.
“My husband was a school bus driver in New Jersey where we are from,” Future UCPS parent Deena Scarpa said. “And he had to get fingerprinted the whole time, so yeah, it’s very important.”
UCPS Assistant Superintendent for Communications and Community Relations Tahira Stalberte sent WBTV this statement regarding the district not fingerprinting employees.
“Union County Public Schools (UCPS) conducts thorough background checks on all employees through the Background Investigations Bureau. In addition, the district uses the Guardian System to monitor daily record checks. Keeping a safe learning environment for all students will continue to be a priority and an area of continuous improvement for UCPS.”
Security expert Karl De La Guerra weighs in on the importance of doing fingerprints on every employee.
“The benefit of it,” Security Expert Karl De La Guerra said. “Is the fact you are able to get a more comprehensive background on an individual by getting those fingerprints done and getting those in place.”
This comes as WBTV learned Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools District (CMS) stopped fingerprinting employees for a year. It is CMS policy to conduct fingerprints but Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox made the call to stop them.
CMS has resumed the process and sent a letter to all new employees who didn’t get fingerprinted to get that done or scheduled by July 19. Some UCPS parents believe not fingerprinting doesn’t mean their kids will be unsafe in the classrooms but think the extra layer of security wouldn’t hurt.
“Having a kindergartner coming in is worrisome,” said one futurre UCPS parent. “You already have nerves going and knowing my son is going to be there in their care for eight hours - I want to know he is good care. I think just identifying who we are trusting our kids with is something that should be done.”
The state of North Carolina doesn’t have a policy in place to instruct school districts to fingerprint. North Carolina Department of Instruction leaves it up to individual systems to determine if they want to fingerprint employees.
“I was aware that some schools didn’t around the United States,” De La Guerra said. “It surprises me that they don’t. What is more precious to protect than our children. Wouldn’t you want to know the full background of those individuals that are working closely hand in hand with our children?”
Background Investigations Bureau (BIB) conducts UCPS and CMS background checks. We reached out to the company to comment on this story. WBTV is still waiting to hear back.