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Louisiana teachers could soon have to pay for an additional criminal background check

By: - May 19, 2022 3:49 pm
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Right now, Louisiana K-12 teachers are required to undergo a single criminal background check for their teaching certificate and during the hiring process. They may soon have to go through a subsequent review, paid for partially out of their own pockets.

House Bill 156, authored by Rep. Barbara Freiburg, R-Baton Rouge, would require teachers to get a second criminal history check within the next five years. It was advanced Thursday from the Senate Education Committee. 

Freiburg said she “hates to bring this bill,” but the Louisiana Department of Education’s single criminal background check system was “proven to not be the correct method in the eyes of the federal government.

“The Louisiana State Police and the FBI unfortunately are telling us this is necessary and we have to do this,” said Ethan Melancon, director of governmental affairs for the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, who spoke to the committee in support of the bill.

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“If we do not continue with this, some of the fallout could be that we will not receive criminal background checks from the FBI anymore,” he said.

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If passed, the state education department would process an estimated additional 53,000 background checks annually. The LDE expects the additional background checks will cost $808,080 in the first year of implementation and $701,080 in subsequent years, according to the bill’s fiscal note.

The bill passed with a 93-5 vote in the Louisiana House and now moves to the Senate Finance Committee to have its cost approved.

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JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is an award-winning journalist at The Louisiana Illuminator. Canicosa has previous experience at Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.

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