The Board of Trustees of the Meridian Public School District is committed to the use of all reasonable means to ensure the safety of our students, employees, and volunteers. The employment background screening process is designed to make our school environment safe and to screen out those persons who could be harmful to students.
It is the intention of the Meridian Public School District’s Board of Trustees to hire only those individuals who are beyond suspicion of any wrongful dealings related to the well-being and safety of students and the school environment.
The employment background screening process in the Meridian Public School District will include not less than:
* Reference checks made with the applicant’s most recent supervisors.
* A criminal records background check of felony and misdemeanor convictions.
* A child abuse check with the child abuse registry.
* Fingerprinting with checks made at the state level and the national criminal history level.
Effective July 1, 2000, the employment background screening process will be conducted on any individual recommended for employment in the Meridian Public School District.
The Superintendent of the Meridian Public School District shall require that current criminal records background checks and current child abuse registry checks are obtained and that such criminal record information and registry checks are on file for any new hires applying for employment as a certified or classified employee. If no disqualifying record is identified at the state level, the fingerprints shall be forwarded by the Department of Public Safety to the FBI for a national criminal history record check. In order to determine the applicant’s suitability for employment, the applicant shall be fingerprinted. The fee for such fingerprinting and criminal history record check shall be paid by the applicant. Under no circumstances shall the superintendent, school board member or any individual other than the subject of the criminal history record checks disseminate information received through such checks except insofar as required to fulfill the purposes of the employment background screening policy.
If such fingerprinting or criminal record checks disclose a felony conviction, guilty plea or plea of nolo contendere to a felony or possession or sale of drugs, murder, manslaughter, armed robbery, rape, sexual battery, sex offense listed in section 45-31-3(i), child abuse, arson, grand larceny, burglary, gratification of lust or aggravated assault which has not been reversed on appeal or for which a pardon has not been granted, the new hire shall not be eligible to be employed in the district. Any employment contract/notification letter for a new hire executed by the superintendent of the Meridian Public School District shall be voided if the new hire receives a disqualifying criminal record check. However, the Meridian Public School District’s Board of Trustees may, in its discretion, allow any applicant aggrieved by the employment decision under this policy to appear before the board, or before a hearing officer designated for such purpose, to show mitigating circumstances which may exist and allow the new hire to be employed in the district. The school board may grant waivers for such mitigating circumstances, which shall include, but not be limited to: (a) age at which the crime was committed, (b) circumstances surrounding the crime; (c) length of time since the conviction and criminal history since the conviction; (d) work history; (e) current employment and character references; and (f) other evidence demonstrating the ability of the person to perform the employment responsibilities competently and that the person does not pose a threat to the health or safety of the children in the school district.