A South Carolina House panel passed a bill Tuesday that would require substitute teachers to receive background checks.
Many school districts around the state already require background checks but some don’t. Bill sponsor Rita Allison of Spartanburg County says once the law passes it will make the background check requirement uniform statewide.
A former substitute teacher employed by a Lexington County school district was arrested this month and charged with abusing four different boys over a seven-year period. Another substitute was charged with assaulting students in a Richland County classroom in 2006. That same year, a substitute in Oconee County was charged with interstate travel to engage in sex with a minor.
The cost of a fingerprint-based background check which the state already funds for regular certified teachers is $25 plus a few additional fees which bring the total to $54 per person.
Former history teacher Cindy Clark, a member of the South Carolina board of Education, testified before the Education Subcommittee. Clark says there are cases where her board has denied certification of some teachers for good reason but they continued to substitute teach.
(Clark on background checks MP3 3:12)
Clark on background checks
School districts can also use free access to a national registry that lists sexual predators in order to check out all of their school staff as well as volunteers.