DCSS to exam teacher backgrounds closer - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

DCSS to exam teacher backgrounds closer

Dougherty Co. School Superintendent Dr. Sally Whatley Dougherty Co. School Superintendent Dr. Sally Whatley
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Albany-- Last month Dougherty County School System officials were shocked to find out that two educators had been arrested in Florida on drug charges, but never reported it.

Since then the Superintendent has drawn up a plan to make sure she does not get blind sided again.

Dougherty Co. School Superintendent Dr. Sally Whatley moved forward with her plan, calling for improved checks on all school employees. Under proposed employee guidelines, all Dougherty County school teachers and employees would have to report any allegation of criminal offense. "Whether they are arrested, charged, indicted, exonerated, whatever, if there is any kind of pre-trial intervention," Whatley said.

Dr. Whatley proposes that all employees must report any law enforcement contact within three days to their supervisor, attempting to close loopholes in criminal system reports. "Often time that slips through the cracks and we don't know that."

Dr. Whatley is also calling for expanded national background checks on all employees every two years, replacing the current Georgia check that left blind spots. "If somebody pleads out, or if the charge is dropped, those are the kind of things that kind of background check would not catch."

Dr. Whatley would have all new employees fingerprinted and given national background checks, stepping up oversights to make sure the more that three thousand school system employees are people you would want taking care of your children.

"Sometimes they make mistakes, and sometimes they make dreadful mistakes. These are measures that we are taking to insure that our employees, we have the highest expectations."

Dr. Whatley said the school board should receive the committee's employee check proposal at the March 14th meeting.

posted by dave.miller@walb.com