EDMOND — The ongoing mission of helping to keep children safe by doing school employee criminal background checks was fine-tuned this week by members of the Edmond School Board.
At issue was the district policy on an annual questionnaire given to each of the estimated 2,700 school support staff, teachers and administrators. Employees are asked if they've been arrested since the previous year's questionnaire. To help verify this, district personnel director Randy Decker said about 10 percent of the employees are subject to a random Accufax test.
The criminal record check is done by the district alone and is not as expensive as the state-required fingerprint check done through the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The five-member board voted Monday to approve a change in the policy wording so its background check would not be confused with the state check.
Decker said the Accufax check costs the district about $18 a test vs. $59 for the state. With 10 percent of the district tested, it costs about $4,860.
Decker said recent checks had not revealed any criminal charges.
He was asked by board member Kathleen Duncan what would happen if it turned out a bus driver had a drunken-driving arrest.
“That person would obviously come to me and then we'd take action,” he said. “We tell all employees two things, not to get arrested in the first place and if they are arrested to immediately tell the superintendent.”
Decker was asked by board members Kemp Cole and Stephanie Bills how his office determined which 10 percent of the employees to check. He said a member of his staff created the list, and he wasn't aware of any specific methodology in selecting names.
After the meeting, Decker said the ultimate action on employment matters is up to the school board, although his office and superintendent David Goin would make recommendations. It is not automatic that an arrest would lead to employment termination.
“It would depend on the circumstances of the arrest and the duties of the employee,” Decker said.
Until last year, Decker had been employed with the district 19 years. After a brief stint in the private sector he returned to Edmond schools.
“I had to submit fingerprints,” he said. He said all hires must undergo the OSBI check.
The goal, Decker said, is to make sure children in the district are as protected and safe as possible.