A New Safety Measure In South Plains Public Schools - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/7/08

A New Safety Measure In South Plains Public Schools

A new safety measure is now in effect for new school employees.

A new state law that went into effect Jan. 1, which requires nearly all public school employees to get finger-printed as a part of an extensive background check.

It is a new safety precaution, which for some in Lubbock is leaving their pocketbook a little lighter.

It is the first day of school, not for these students, but for their teacher.

 "I student taught last semester so this is my first class on my own," Nanette Martin said.

To stand in front of a 4th grade class on her own, Martin had to give her fingerprint.

"Certified new hires they are going to be finger-printed at the time they apply for certification," Lubbock ISD Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Services, Ralph Madrid said.

Therefore, for new teachers like Martin and other new Lubbock ISD employees means shelling out over $50 for an extensive criminal background check. The state is picking up the tab for certified full time educators employed since 2006.

"We, as an association, fought very hard to make sure that the teachers didn't have to pick up the tab themselves. We're still working with legislators to try to get it fully funded through the state," Clinton Gill, President of the Lubbock Teachers Association said.

However, teachers are not the only ones subject to this law.

"Non-certified employees that we will be finger-printing immediately include all of our clerical staff, our contracted employees, custodians and cafeteria workers," Madrid explained.

Madrid says LISD has been doing DPS and Safe Kids background checks for years. This new fingerprint law just adds an FBI check to that list.  

By the year 2011, all school employees must be finger-printed. The state is expected to pay over $20 million for those checks statewide.

It is not just those working in schools who must be finger-printed. Back in September, another law went into effect, which requires all daycare employees also get a fingerprint check.

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