ACT 82 CLARIFICATION ON BACKGROUND CHECKS

Recently Governor Corbett signed into law House Bill 1901, now known as Act 82 of 2012, which made various changes to the Public School Code of 1949. One of those amendments to the School Code clarifies that the employment prohibitions contained in Sections 111(e) and 111(f.1), based on conviction of certain offenses, applies to both current and prospective employees.

Paragraph A.1. of Section 111 was amended to correct confusion under the previous section and now clearly states that Section 111, in its entirety, applies to current employees as well as prospective employees.  Section 111(e) now provides:

No person subject to this act shall be employed or remain employed in a public or private school, intermediate unit or area vocational-technical school where a report of criminal history record information or a form submitted by an employe under subsection (j) indicates the person has been convicted of any of the [offenses set forth in 111(e)]

(Emphasis added.)

It is now clear current employees must submit the criminal history information form and are subject to termination based on the listed convictions.

The requirements to report arrests and convictions are also expanded to include, in addition to the 111(e) offenses, arrests for or convictions of offenses listed under Section 111(f). That section also applies to current employees and provides in relevant part:

(1) If a report of criminal history record information or a form submitted by an employe under subsection (j) indicates the person has been convicted of an offense graded as a felony offense of the first, second or third degree other than one of the offenses enumerated under subsection (e), the person shall be eligible for continued or prospective employment only if a period of ten years has elapsed from the date of expiration of the sentence for the offense.

(2)  If a report of criminal history record information or a form submitted by an employe under subsection (j) indicates the person has been convicted of an offense graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree, other than one of the offenses enumerated in subsection (e), the person shall be eligible for continued or prospective employment only if a period of five years has elapsed from the date of expiration of the sentence for the offense.

(3)  If the report of criminal history record information or a form submitted by an employe under subsection (j) indicates the person has been convicted more than once for an offense . . . (relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance) and the offense is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree. . . the person shall be eligible for current or prospective employment only if a period of three years has elapsed from the date of expiration of the sentence for the most recent offense.

(Emphasis added.)

(Note: “Misdemeanor of the first degree” referenced in Subsection (3) above refers to a violation which either results in bodily injury, death, property damage, or occurs while operating a commercial or school vehicle, and when there has been more than one prior offense.)

We have been advised that the Department of Education will be revising the report form required by Section 111 and publish the revised form in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and on the department’s website.  I would ask that you please distribute a copy of this letter to each of the School Directors and any members of Administration you deem appropriate, particularly Administrators involved in Human Resources.

For additional information, please contact Michael Brungo at mlb@mbm-law.net or by calling 412.242.4400.

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