A Patterson, New Jersey teacher was recently removed from the classroom because of allegations of sexual misconduct with students at his former teaching job in New York City. Before hiring him, Paterson school officials conducted a criminal background check, which he passed. Mr. Seong was never arrested or charged with a crime in NYC. Officials said that they also checked his references at Bayside High School in Queens.
Criminal background checks alone do not go far enough in revealing past dangerous behavior. These checks are only valuable if the subject was convicted of a crime. An in depth background check in the above case would have uncovered the behavior that lead to this teacher’s prior termination.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill Tuesday authorizing up to $20 million to reimburse nonpublic schools for the hiring of unarmed security guards. The New York City Council voted 43 to 4 last month to reimburse private and religious schools for unarmed security if the schools have at least 300 students. De Blasio stated that the bill will help “keep our communities safer.”