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Governor May Sign Bill to Expand Background Checks on Teachers, Bus Drivers

Last year, Newton Public Schools expanded its background check procedures after an elementary school teacher was arrested on child pornography charges.

The Associated Press is reporting Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is considering signing legislation that would require teachers and workers at child care centers as well as school bus drivers to submit fingerprints for criminal background checks.

The fingerprint background checks would also apply to everyone seeking to adopt children or become foster parents, as the legislation is written.

Fingerprints would be submitted to the Massachusetts State Police for a state criminal history check and forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history check, reported the Associated Press.

Last year, the Newton Public Schools expanded its background check procedure for Newton teachers, including the addition of Sex Offender Registry (SORI) checks. 

The expanded background checks followed the January 2012 arrest of Newton elementary school teacher David Ettlinger, who was charged with multiple counts of child pornography and indecent assault and battery.

Ettlinger was later charged in federal court with "engaging in a child exploitation exercise" for his involvement with the the international child pornography site Dreamboard. Ettlinger pleaded guilty to the federal charges and yesterday, January 8, he was sentenced to 45 years in prison with a lifetime of supervision. 

What do you think? Will the fingerprinting help keep kids safe? Tell us in the comments section below.

Adam Maleson January 10, 2013 at 12:09 AM
How come everything politicians do has to be reactive? Something seriously wrong has to happen before it starts to occur to them that maybe they should be more concerned about what's going on? A classroom has to get shot up before you start to worry about guns. A teacher has to get caught with pornography before it starts to occur to them that we should be a bit careful about the character of people who are hired as teachers. Some kids have to end up in a hospital before it starts to occur to the polliticians that drug use may be a problem we should be concerned about. HOW COME? HOW COME? How come politicians, the very people we need to have both positive and negative vision, lack either? How come?

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