Abuse in Group Home: No Background Checks

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Springfield, Ohio had what many considered to be a great program for at-risk youth. Vision for Youth had its license revoked recently however, due to allegations of abuse. The teens say they were punched, kicked, and choked at the center.

The state found that Vision for Youth did not maintain proper documentation on employees criminal background checks when it hired at least 7 felons. "The employees would brag about their criminal records. They loved it, they flaunted it. They threatened the kids with it." State officials declined to comment on why it took so long to revoke the licence of a facility, when they had 3 recommendations by investigators who found problems there.


Public Records To Remain Open in Austin, TX

Monday, April 27, 2009

Watchdog journalists are fighting the state legislature in Austin, TX. A bill by Rep. Diane Patrick, R-Arlington, would keep confidential information such as home addresses and cell phone numbers for public school teachers and employees. But journalists and open records advocates object to what they say is a deal breaker — removing the days and months of birth dates from open records.

Birth dates are used to differentiate common names from one another when searching criminal records. Obstruction of these dates could lead to a false accusations or exoneration. All teachers are required to undergo criminal background checks in Texas but journalists and open records activists believe in checks and balances when it comes to public school teachers.

"We've seen time and time again where school districts are supposed to run criminal background checks, and watchdog groups and journalists are the ones that point out loopholes in the system. This bill takes that watchdog role away," Elkins said.
Thursday's bill is one of several efforts in the Legislature to keep birth dates and other information about public employees private.


Driver's Ed Instructors Cause Accidents

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Putting aside Iowa law, five cities have opted to continue to employ driver instructors who have been convicted of causing traffic accidents in the past two years. Leaders of the partially school-run and private driver education programs indicate a shortage in teachers as the reason for the disregard.

Harlan Superintendent Bill Decker said, "We're not talking about operating a motor vehicle under the influence or fatality situations. We're really talking about fender-bender situations."

Some violators, however, are habitual offenders. Their driving records could raise a serious question for law makers in Iowa.

It appears a loophole was created when department overseeing the driver education program shifted from the Department of Education to the Department of Transportation. It wasn't until a routine check on a teacher found six convictions in 2007 and 2008.

The state obviously put these standards into law for a reason, why they haven't been enforced is another questions. Driving records may seem like small potatoes, but just like a credit report, they can provide a pretty clear history of judgment and decision. Who would you want teaching the young teenagers in your town to drive?


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