Background checks on teachers a good thing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 1, 2002

Just this month, the Alabama Legislature passed a very important bill, one that will make a difference in those that spend every school day with our children.

The bill, which relates to the Child Protection Act of 1999, will subject all certified and noncertified employees of public educational facilities to a criminal background check. The background check will give both the schools and the Alabama State Department of Education knowledge of any criminal history that an applicant may have.

The bill reads, "The Legislature finds that there is a compelling state interest and it is in the best interest of the children of Alabama to protect them from those persons who may inflict physical or mental injury or abuse, sexual abuse or exploitation, or maltreatment or other mistreatment upon children."

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This information is necessary to the well-being of our children, and it is important that the Alabama Legislature has finally realized that we need to keep our children safe.

Many may argue that this type of check is an invasion of privacy. However, with the recent convictions of child abuse of several Catholic priests, who parents at one time had no hesistations about, it is even more important that we check the background of those who are spending time with the children of Alabama.

The State Department of Education will be the entity that is absorbing the cost, but this is one decision involving the spending of funds that everyone should agree on.

This bill should have been passed a long time ago, but at least now, we will not have to worry as much about who our children are spending time with.