Boston schools to tighten criminal background checks; plans to fingerprint job applicants and employees

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Boston Public Schools, in a push to beef up background checks on employees, will meet the requirements of a new state law requiring that all staff be fingerprinted, and will go a step further by scouring court documents to see if a string of “non-convictions” is a sign of questionable character.

The effort will enable Massachusetts districts, for the first time, to gain access to criminal records in other states.

Other aspects of Boston’s policy revision would bring the city up to par with several other Massachusetts districts that give their superintendents greater discretion to consider nonconvictions and any other information the superintendents consider relevant in determining whether to hire or promote someone. The Globe reported in February that Boston’s current policy on criminal background checks was more narrow in scope.

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