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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Saturday, February 4, 2006

MI: Teacher Criminal Records Checks Generate False Hits

A Michigan law designed to catch criminals working in the schools has identified many teachers as felons who in fact have no records.  Similar names, ages and birthdates flag innocent teachers. 

The Detroit Free Press reported:

The Michigan State Police ran the background checks on about 200,000 school employees, using identifiers such as name, date of birth, Social Security number, race and sex, said Tim Bolles, identification and criminal history section manager for the State Police.

The checks found more than 4,600 criminal offenses, of which 2,200 were felonies, the Associated Press has reported. Anyone with a sexual offense must be immediately fired. Employees with felonies and certain misdemeanors can keep their jobs only if their superintendent and school board take action to allow it.

The Michigan Education Association, a union that represents school employees statewide, said it had gotten about 200 calls on the subject in the last two days, mostly from employees who had been confronted with what they said was incorrect information. [Jack Chin]

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