Source: Amherst Regional Public Schools
The Amherst Regional School District reported in a press release issued on September 27, 2023, that while Massachusetts law requires that school districts conduct criminal background checks on all employees who have unmonitored contact with children, the district cannot be confident that all background checks required within the last 20 months have been conducted. The district is in the process of bringing its records into compliance with state law and expects that process to be completed by January 1, 2024.
The district’s press release follows:
As leaders, we understand and appreciate that members of the community are calling for an increase in transparency from our school districts. In an eftort to show our commitment to meeting the community’s expectations, we are writing to disclose that the Districts’ employment records do not consistently reflect whether the Districts have conducted certain background checks of their employees.
Massachusetts law requires all school districts to conduct criminal background checks of state records as well as national records through the FBI for employees who have unmonitored contact with children. Massachusetts law also requires that we review state criminal records every three years.
In addition, school districts must review information from the state sex offender registry (SORI) which was newly required this past spring. Based on an ongoing internal audit of our records, we cannot be confident that CORI and fingerprint background checks have consistently been conducted over the past 20 months.
We are currently in the process of bringing the Districts into compliance and expect this process to be complete by January 1, 2024.
We want to emphasize that we have no reason to believe that any individual employed by the Districts presents any risk to children or staff
Margaret Stancer, Chair, Pelham School Committee
Sarahbess Kenney, Chair, Regional School Committee
Irv Rhodes, Chair, Union 26 School Committee
Doug Slaughter. Interim Superintendent
Kathrvn Mazur Human Resources Administrator
Contact: Debbie Westmoreland. Director of Communication and Operations
Director of Communication and Operations
Amherst, Pelham and Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools
170 Chestnut Street
Amherst, MA 01002