Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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Holli  Armstrong

CORI Policy

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has been certified by the Criminal History Systems Board (CHSB) to access conviction and pending criminal case data (criminal offender record information, or CORI) for the purpose of screening prospective and current holders of educator licenses awarded by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The Department also is authorized to access CORI conviction data in the context of investigations and proceedings relative to the decertification process. CORI checks are part of a general screening process for licensure and may be conducted by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as a condition of educator licensure. The Department will comply with the following practices and procedures in obtaining and reviewing CORI:

  1. The Department will conduct CORI checks only as authorized by the CHSB. The Department's applications for licensure and re-licensure shall include a statement notifying the applicant of the Department's authority to obtain CORI and that a CORI check may be conducted as a condition of licensure. An individual requesting a copy of this policy shall be provided with it.

  2. All Department staff that are authorized by the CHSB to review CORI on behalf of the Department are familiar with the educational materials made available by CHSB and the requirements under state law pertaining to CORI, including restrictions on disseminating CORI to unauthorized persons and penalties for unauthorized access and dissemination of CORI.

  3. A criminal record will not automatically disqualify an individual from licensure by the Department. Rather, the Department will make determinations of an individual's suitability based on CORI checks conducted consistent with this policy, with licensure standards adopted by the Board of Education, and with any other applicable law or regulations.

  4. If the Department receives a criminal record from the CHSB about an applicant or licensee, authorized Department staff will closely compare the record provided by CHSB with the information on the license application, the CORI Request Form, and any other identifying information provided by the applicant, to ensure the record relates to the applicant. If necessary, the Department will provide the CHSB with additional information to more accurately assess if the CORI report can be attributed to the applicant or licensee.

  5. If the Department reasonably believes the CORI report belongs to the applicant or licensee, then the Department will make a determination about the individual's suitability for licensure based on the CORI and other relevant information. The Department may consider the following factors when reviewing CORI: the type and nature of the offense; the nature of the work to be performed by the licensee and the relevance of the offense to the position sought; the date of the offense; the age of the applicant or licensee at the time of the offense; the specific circumstances of the offense; the number of offenses; whether the individual has been subsequently arrested; and any other relevant information, including information submitted by the applicant or licensee regarding rehabilitation or lack thereof and the licensee's moral character. Records sealed pursuant to law shall not operate to disqualify a person in any examination, appointment or application for public service on behalf of the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof.

  6. Upon receipt of a questionable or unsatisfactory CORI report, the Department has the right to refuse to license the individual or to take action to revoke, limit or suspend the individual's license. However, the individual will be given the opportunity to discuss the CORI finding with the Department's Investigator for Educator Misconduct, and to submit sufficient documentation to the Department to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the CORI within 5 working days of that discussion. The Department shall review all available information before making a final decision. The Department shall provide a copy of the CORI report to the individual to whom it pertains, upon his or her request. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will notify the applicant or license holder of the decision and the basis of the decision in a timely manner.

  7. Applicants challenging the accuracy of the CORI report shall be provided a copy of CHSB's Information Concerning the Process in Correcting a Criminal Record Download PDF Document.

  8. Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) is confidential and only authorized Department staff who have been certified by the Criminal History Systems Board to receive CORI will have access to CORI information. All Department of Elementary and Secondary Education staff not certified by the CHSB are prohibited by law from receiving or accessing CORI.

Last Updated: August 26, 2018
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