As an educational institution, student safety is the top priority of Dallas ISD. Recently, allegations were made that Dallas ISD does not have completed background checks for all employees. Upon learning of the allegations, the district immediately initiated its own review of the fingerprinting and background check records. In addition, as the Texas Education Agency (TEA) also received the allegations, TEA announced that it was initiating a review of the district’s employee background check records.
A week and half ago, Dallas ISD conducted an internal review of background check records for all of its more than 20,000 current employees. The review found 43 Police and Security Services employees were missing a TEA fingerprinting and background check record. However, all 43 employees had been previously fingerprinted and background checked through a different, but more rigorous system required of peace officers in the State of Texas. Based on state law, only four of these employees were required to be refingerprinted through the TEA process and all four have now done so. Another 15 employees in various roles were found to need the electronic fingerprinting and background checks required by TEA and all of them have completed the process.
As part of its review, TEA requested last week that Dallas ISD provide the agency with background check records so that TEA could cross-reference the records with TEA’s list of district employees. From the first batch of 2500 employees submitted, TEA notified the district that the agency could not positively identify a completed fingerprinting and background check for 379 individuals.
Upon review with district staff, it was determined that only three full-time employees (one nurse and two custodians) were found to be without the proper fingerprinting and did not report to their assigned campuses until their fingerprinting and background check had been complete. Of the remaining 376 employees:
- 246 are current employees who have the appropriate fingerprinting and background check. However, TEA employee records did not match Dallas ISD records. (i.e. there had been a name change due to a change in marital status),
- Another 93 are current employees who have been fingerprinted and background checked but will be reprinted because their employee type (certified vs. uncertified) was mis-identified at the time of their original fingerprinting.
- 20 of the employees listed by TEA were not current Dallas ISD employees.
- 15 employees are currently employed by Police and Security Services and are part of the group of 43 employees discussed above who the district had already identified and moved through the TEA process.
- 3 are substitutes who were out of compliance and therefore were deactivated until they completed the correct process.
TEA formally notified Dallas ISD yesterday afternoon what the scope and process of its review would include. Dallas ISD will continue to fully comply with TEA during the review and will continue to provide the agency with batches of employee fingerprinting and background check records as the district works with TEA to clarify the results of its review.
“Dallas ISD recognizes that allegations of incomplete background check records raises questions for our parents and community members,” said Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles. “I want to assure our community that Dallas ISD is moving swiftly to make sure that background checks are completed for the limited number of employees for whom a completed file does not exist. This is another area where we have tightened our processes and procedures over the last couple of years and we are confident that this will not be an issue in the future.”