Education Laws and Regulations
603 CMR 51.00
Criminal History Checks for School Employees
|51.01:||Authority, Scope, and Purpose|
|51.03:||Individuals Subject to National Checks for Suitability Determinations|
|51.04:||School Employer Policies on National Criminal History Checks and Suitability Determinations; Confidentiality; Dissemination; Audit|
|51.05:||Timing of National Criminal History Checks|
|51.06:||Employer Documentation of Suitability Determination; Reliance Thereon; Subsequent Checks|
|51.07:||Reporting National Criminal History Check Results to the Commissioner|
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As used in 603 CMR 51.00, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, terms shall have the following meanings:
Board: The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education or a person duly authorized by the Board.
Commissioner: The Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education or his or her designee.
Conditional Employee: An individual who may have direct and unmonitored contact with children hired by a school employer without the employer first obtaining the results of a state and national fingerprint-based criminal history check because the school employer determines that exigent circumstances exist as set forth in 603 CMR 51.05(4).
Criminal History Record Information (CHRI): Information provided by the FBI and the Massachusetts State Police State Identification Section, through the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS). CHRI is defined by the FBI as any notations or other written or electronic evidence of an arrest, detention, complaint, indictment, information or other formal criminal charge relating to an identifiable person that includes identifying information regarding the individual as well as the disposition of any charges.
Criminal Justice Information (CJI): For the purposes of 603 CMR 51.00, CJI refers to data provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS) to civil agencies to perform their mission; including, but not limited to data used to make hiring decisions.
Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI): Records and data in any communicable form compiled by a Massachusetts criminal justice agency which concern an identifiable individual and relate to the nature or disposition of a criminal charge, an arrest, a pre-trial proceeding, other judicial proceedings, sentencing, incarceration, rehabilitation, or release. Such information shall be restricted to that recorded as the result of the initiation of criminal proceedings or any consequent proceedings related thereto. Criminal offender record information shall not include evaluative information, statistical and analytical reports and files in which individuals are not directly or indirectly identifiable, or intelligence information. Criminal offender record information shall be limited to information concerning persons who have attained the age of 17 and shall not include any information concerning criminal offenses or acts of delinquency committed by any person younger than 17 years old; provided, however, that if a person younger than 17 years old is adjudicated as an adult, information relating to such criminal offense shall be criminal offender record information. Criminal offender record information shall not include information concerning any offenses which are not punishable by incarceration. Massachusetts school employers' access to, and treatment of, CORI is governed by M.G.L. c. 71, § 38R, M.G.L. c. 6, §§ 167-178B and 803 CMR 2.00: Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI).
Department: The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS): The Commonwealth agency statutorily designated to provide a public safety information system and network to support data collection, information sharing and interoperability for the Commonwealth's criminal justice and law enforcement community and to oversee the authorized provision of CORI to the non-criminal justice community.
Direct and unmonitored contact with children: Contact with students when no other employee, for whom the employer has made a suitability determination pursuant to 603 CMR 51.00 of the school or district is present. "Contact" refers to any contact with a student that provides the individual with opportunity for physical touch or personal communication. The school employer may determine when there is potential for direct and unmonitored contact with children by assessing the circumstances and specific factors including but not limited to, whether the individual will be working in proximity with students, the amount of time the individual will spend on school grounds, and whether the individual will be working independently or with others. An individual shall not be considered to have the potential for direct and unmonitored contact with children if he or she has only the potential for incidental unsupervised contact in commonly used areas of the school grounds.
Employee: An individual working, or applying to work, in a Massachusetts public or private school. Employees shall include any apprentice, intern, or student teacher or individuals in similar positions.
National Criminal History Check: The process of submitting fingerprints to the FBI and Massachusetts State Police (MSP) State Identification Section to obtain state and national criminal history record information.
School: A Massachusetts public school, including a collaborative school, charter school, virtual school or innovation school; or a Massachusetts private day or residential school, including a special education school program approved under M.G.L. c. 71B; or a Massachusetts independent or parochial school or schools.
School Employer: The superintendent of any city, town, or regional school district, principal, or other administrator of Massachusetts public or private schools, including a special education school program approved under M.G.L. c. 71B. For the purposes of an individual directly hired by a Massachusetts school committee, the school committee is the school employer.
Subcontractor or Laborer: An individual not employed by the school employer but commissioned by the school committee or school, or employed by the city or town, or employed by a non-school employer under contract or lease with the school, school district, city, or town to perform work on school grounds or with students. Such individuals may be the employees of a contractor or vendor hired by a school, or may be independent contractors or service providers hired by a school or may be performing services on school grounds under a contract or lease with the school, school district, city or town.
Substitute Employee: An individual who is employed, on a temporary basis, to take the place of an employee who is absent.
Suitability Determination: A determination made by a school employer concerning whether anything contained in the individual's CHRI renders the individual unfit for employment that may include direct and unmonitored contact with children. A suitability determination may also be made by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Volunteer: An individual who performs a service for a school employer on an unpaid basis, who is not an apprentice, intern or student teacher.
M.G.L. c. 71 § 38R and Chapter 77 of the Acts of 2013