News Release: HOY PUSHES FOR STRICTER TEACHER BACKGROUND CHECKS (INDIANAPOLIS) - The Indiana House today passed House Bill 1232, legislation authored by State Rep. Phil Hoy (D-Evansville) that would require prospective Indiana teachers to undergo background checks as part of the licensing process. The new background check includes research on in state and out of state criminal records for the past 10 years, and also requires a review of sex offender registries. Current state law has only vague provisions concerning criminal background checks for teachers. Individual school districts are at liberty to decide how in-depth the checks will be, including if they will include state or federal checks. “Indiana needs a uniform and thorough policy regulating teacher background checks. We should not tolerate teachers with criminal records slipping through the cracks of the current haphazard background check requirements,” Hoy said. The bill also allows colleges to obtain a free limited background check for students enrolled in the institution’s school of education before they begin field or classroom experience. According to a review by the Associated Press, Indiana had 30 reports of school employees or teachers involved in cases of sexual misconduct from 2001 to 2005. “There have been far too many instances of inappropriate teacher student relations across the country,” Hoy said. “It is necessary that Indiana school corporations hire reputable, upstanding citizens so that our children are better protected.” “It is crucial that we find out as much information as possible about applicants so we can eliminate those who pose a potential threat,” he concluded. This bill will now go to the Senate for further consideration.