Employment History Review
Student safety is one of HCPSS’ top priorities. It is considered in every decision the district makes–including hiring decisions. HCPSS conducts an extensive employment history review and criminal background checks on prospective and new employees to assess whether they are fit to work with school-aged children.
Candidates’ Responsibilities Prior to Being Hired
Candidates for school positions – including substitutes – are required to provide contact information for:
- Their current employer
- All former employers where the job held involved direct contact with minors.
Candidates must also provide written authorization to an employer to release all records regarding allegations of Child Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct with a Minor.
In addition, candidates must provide a written statement of whether he/she:
- Has ever been the subject of a Child Sexual Abuse or Sexual Misconduct Investigation;
- Has ever been disciplined, discharged, non-renewed, resigned or asked to resign while allegations of child sexual abuse or sexual misconduct were pending; or,
- Has ever had a license or certificate suspended, surrendered, or revoked while allegations of child sexual abuse or sexual misconduct were pending.
Providing false information is a violation of the law and must be reported to MSDE.
School Responsibilities Before Hiring a Candidate:
A school must review the completed Employment Application and all required information before making the decision to hire a candidate. Schools must contact the candidate’s current employer and employers where their job involved direct contact with minors, and request in writing:
- The dates of the candidate’s employment
- The answers to the questions regarding Child Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct
Schools must respond to requests from other employers for the information above within 20 days of receipt of the request.
What happens when a positive response to one or more of the questions is received from a former employer?
If the School wants to continue to consider a candidate after receiving such a response, the School shall request the former employer to provide additional information, including all records, relating to child sexual abuse or sexual misconduct with a minor. The former employer must provide this information to the requesting school within 60 days. A person acting in good faith may not be held liable for disclosing any information or records related to child sexual abuse or sexual misconduct about a current or former employee unless the person acts with actual malice or intentionally recklessly disclosed false information.
What happens if a former employer does not respond to a request, responds only partially, or is no longer in business?
The school should document all attempts to reach the former employer. If the former employer responds only in part, or is no longer in business and/or records are no longer available, this should be documented.
Criminal Background Checks
HCPSS requires all applicants to disclose and document criminal background information through the completion of:
- The HCPSS online employment application
- The Criminal Background Investigation Form (Family Law Article, 5–560 et.seq)
- The Howard County Department of Social Services Release of Information Form
Failure to disclose information is grounds for immediate dismissal. The HCPSS will complete background checks for all prospective employees through the following:
- Maryland Judiciary Case Search
- National and State Sex Offender Registry
- The Howard County Department of Social Services child abuse and/or neglect background check
- State and FBI Fingerprint criminal background check
If during the employment application process any information regarding criminal, child abuse or neglect issues is disclosed, discovered, or found to be inconsistent, the application evaluation process will stop and the information will be investigated.
Detailed information on background checks, including relevant forms that must be completed, are available in the onboarding packet employees receive through Workday.
Employment History Review
In accordance with House Bill 486, which took effect on July 1, 2019, HCPSS conducts a review of a job applicant’s employment history before they are hired. The purpose of this review is to prevent the employment of applicants who have been credibly accused of engaging in child sexual abuse or sexual misconduct with a minor.