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Education Laws and Regulations

603 CMR 51.00
Criminal History Checks for School Employees

Section:
51.01:
51.02:
51.03:
51.04:
51.05:
51.06:
51.07:
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51.05: Timing of National Criminal History Checks

(1) For individuals who began work or service before the 2013-2014 school year:

(a) An employee, subcontractor, laborer, individual who regularly provides school related transportation to children, volunteer or other individual will be considered to have begun work or service for a school employer before the 2013-2014 school year if he or she performed work for that school employer prior to July 1, 2013.
(b) Before the start of the 2016-2017 school year and according to a schedule established by the Department, school employers shall obtain and review national criminal history checks, and make required suitability determinations, for all employees who began work before the 2013-2014 school year and for all individuals who regularly provide school related transportation to children and who began work before the 2013-2014 school year.
(c) School employers may obtain and review national criminal history checks, and make suitability determinations for subcontractors, laborers or volunteers who began work or service before the 2013-2014 school year according to a schedule established by the Department.

(2) For individuals who begin work or service during the 2013-2014 school year:

(a) For employees who may have direct and unmonitored access to children, and for individuals who regularly provide school related transportation to children, school employers shall:
  1. Obtain and review the applicant's Massachusetts CORI and determine whether the CORI results preclude employment before hiring the individual;
  2. If the Massachusetts CORI results do not preclude employment, the employer shall require the individual to submit his or her fingerprints for a national criminal history check according to the process created by the Commonwealth and according to a schedule established by the Department; and
  3. Make a suitability determination after the results of the national criminal history check are available; or, if permitted by 603 CMR 51.06, obtain documentation of a previous suitability determination.
(b) For subcontractors, laborers and volunteers who begin work or service during the 2013-2014 school year, the school employer may require the individual to submit fingerprints for a national criminal history check according to the procedures set out in 603 CMR 51.05(2)(a).

(3) For individuals who begin work or service during or after the 2014-2015 school year, school employers shall secure national criminal history checks before finalizing an offer of employment, as follows:

(a) Obtain and review the applicant's Massachusetts CORI and determine whether the CORI results preclude employment;
(b) If the CORI results do not preclude employment, require the individual to submit his or her fingerprints for a national criminal history check according to the process created by the Commonwealth and according to a schedule established by the Department, unless permitted by 603 CMR 51.06, to rely on a previous suitability determination; and
(c) Make a suitability determination after the results of the national criminal history check are available; or, if permitted by 603 CMR 51.06, obtain documentation of a previous suitability determination.

(4) In exigent circumstances, a school employer may hire an employee conditionally for whom a national criminal history check is required, or permit a subcontractor, laborer or volunteer for whom the school employer seeks a national criminal history check to begin service, without first receiving the results of a national criminal history check.

(a) The exigent circumstances in which a school employer may hire a conditional employee include:
  1. The school determines it must fill a position that is created or becomes open during the school year;
  2. The school seeks to fill a position less than one month before the start of a school year;
  3. The school seeks to hire an individual for whom a national criminal history check has been requested, but the school employer is unlikely to receive the results before the individual's employment will begin;
  4. The school requires the service of a subcontractor, laborer or volunteer who has submitted fingerprints for the purposes of a national criminal history check, but the school employer has not yet received the results of the national criminal history check.
(b) In order to hire a conditional employee or permit an individual to begin providing services under 603 CMR 51.05(4)(a), a school employer:
  1. Shall obtain and review the results of a Massachusetts CORI check;
  2. Shall require the individual to submit fingerprints for a national criminal history check, unless the school employer first obtains the CORI results and determines they preclude employment, or unless the school employer is permitted by 603 CMR 51.06 to rely on a previous suitability determination;
  3. May, until the school employer makes a suitability determination based on the results of a national criminal history check or documentation of a previous suitability determination is received, require an individual to provide information regarding the individual's history of criminal convictions; however, the individual cannot be asked to provide information about juvenile adjudications or sealed convictions; and
  4. Shall make a suitability determination after the results of the national criminal history check become available, or, if permitted by 603 CMR 51.06, obtain documentation of a previous suitability determination.

Regulatory Authority:
M.G.L. c. 71 § 38R and Chapter 77 of the Acts of 2013



Last Updated: December 26, 2013
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