Backgrounds Checks and Private and Public School Systems

An elite boarding school in Wallingford, Connecticut is facing severe scrutiny after it was revealed that at least twelve faculty members had been accused sexual abuse of children between the years of 1963 and 2010—accusations that had gone unreported—including one teacher who left the private school and went on to become a principal of public high school.

How could this happen? Where did their background checks go wrong?

Recent legislation for public schools in that locality required that applicants allow prospective employers to conduct thorough and specific checks with previous employers as to the applicants’ history of sexual misconduct, child abuse, or neglect. Applicants are required to list all the contact information of every employer whose jobs required contact with children. Additionally former employers are prohibited from making “exit deals,” according to the executive director of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools Douglas J. Lyons, in which it is agreed to withhold pertinent information regarding sexual abuse allegations from future employers.

There is now proposed legislation to extend these requirements to conduct thorough background checks to private schools. If said requirements had been in effect, the belief is that the alleged decades’ long history of sexual abuse either would not have happened or would have been properly addressed at the time and prevented from continuing.

Interviewing Previous Employers in Any Industry

When interrogating previous employers of applicants, it is important to remember that the former employer may be limited in the types of information they can give. For example, there is the concern that any negative feedback that results in your decision not to hire the applicant can be used against them if the applicant decides to litigate against the former employer. However, it is very important to interview former employers simply to protect yourself from making a bad hire. Thorough background checks aren’t complete without these types of checks.

Talk to us to learn more about how you can properly carry out checks with former employers.

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