Lawmakers urge more background checks for Indiana teachers

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A panel of Indiana lawmakers has endorsed recommendations to strengthen the state's background checks system for educators and streamline the process for revoking a teacher's license.

The proposal would require school employees to undergo background checks every five years, according to The Indianapolis Star. Currently, employees are only screened when hired.

The Interim Study Committee on Education also recommended on Tuesday that employees have their initial screening completed before their first day of work. Under current rules, school districts are required to complete the background check within three months after hiring them.

More checks would also be placed on the judicial process to ensure that teachers who engage in misconduct can't jump from school to school undetected.

Background checks will remain the responsibility of local school districts under the proposal. Committee chairman and state Rep. Robert Behning argued that the checks can be done more quickly by school districts.

"You get to a larger community and someone doesn't live in the community, the district might not always be aware," Behning said.

The proposal also says the state could revoke a teacher's license if the employee is convicted of some felonies, including sexual misconduct with a minor.

The Indiana Department of Child Services would also be required to report more information to schools, including when the agency verifies child abuse claims against a school employee stemming from an incident outside of school.

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